Main organizational level of the United Methodist Church; most are technically called "annual conferences," while some are "missionary conferences."

Within the United States, a conference will cover a state, several states, or portions of a state or states; for example, the Virginia Annual Conference covers the entire state roughly from Blacksburg east, and the Holston Conference covers the rest of the state plus East Tennessee, a corner of Georgia, and a sliver of North Carolina. Conversely, the entire state of Utah is merely a subdistrict in the Rocky Mountain Conference. Outside the U.S., a conference may cover a country or multiple countries, depending on the number of UMCs in the area.

Pastors are technically not members of the church or charge they serve, but rather members of the conference, because they itinerate among churches/charges. Bishops are assigned to episcopal areas, which usually (but not always) correspond to conference boundaries.

Conferences make up jurisdictions in the U.S.; all non-U.S. conferences are themselves part of larger Central Conferences. Conferences are subdivided into districts.

Con"fer*ence (?), n. [F. conf'erence. See Confer.]

1.

The act of comparing two or more things together; comparison.

[Obs.]

Helps and furtherances which . . . the mutual conference of all men's collections and observations may afford. Hocker.

2.

The act of consulting together formally; serious conversation or discussion; interchange of views.

Nor with such free and friendly conference As he hath used of old. Shak.

3.

A meeting for consultation, discussion, or an interchange of opinions.

4.

A meeting of the two branches of a legislature, by their committees, to adjust between them.

5. Methodist Church

A stated meeting of preachers and others, invested with authority to take cognizance of ecclesiastical matters.

6.

A voluntary association of Congregational churches of a district; the district in which such churches are.

Conference meeting, a meeting for conference. Specifically, a meeting conducted (usually) by laymen, for conference and prayer. [U. S.] -- Conference room, a room for conference and prayer, and for the pastor's less formal addresses. [U. S.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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