UMC Bishops to call special session of General Conference in 2026

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Council of Bishops plans to call a special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in 2026 for the delegates to strategize and work toward bringing about the next vital expression of United Methodism.

The bishops made the decision to call the special session during their recent meeting at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, last week.  The specific call for the special session, including details about the agenda, date and other logistics will be unveiled early in the new year.
Under Para. 14 of The Book of Discipline and in line with Article II of the Constitution, the bishops have the authority to call “a special session of the General Conference, possessing the authority and exercising all the powers of the General Conference.”

“A special session of General Conference in 2026 would allow the church to see our work as having two important next steps, the first being the regular session of the General Conference in 2024, and the second to make continued progress in 2026,” the bishops agreed. “Affirming the call for a special session in 2026 for missional purposes would give the whole church a clearer sense of our path going forward.”  

Early in the year at the May meeting in Chicago, the bishops responded to the Judicial Council Decision 1472 regarding an additional regular General Conference between 2024-2027 by approving a resolution to propose a five-day General Conference in May 2026 that would focus on reestablishing connection, lament and healing, celebration, recasting the mission and vision for The United Methodist Church.

However, in November the Judicial Council reversed its decision ruling in Memorandum 1485 declaring that “the regular session of General Conference that is to be convened following the upcoming 2024 regular session, would be held four years thereafter, in 2028.”

Hence, the COB’s decision to call a special session of the General Conference in 2026 would not be in conflict with the Judicial Council decision, which was concerned with regular sessions of the General Conference.

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