Bishops Call for 2026 General Conference


Council of Bishops President Thomas J. Bickerton presides at the bishops’ spring 2023 meeting in Chicago. East Ohio Conference Bishop Tracy Smith Malone, at left, is the Council of Bishops president-designate. Photo by the Rev. Todd Rossnagel, Louisiana Conference.

By Heather Hahn,
United Methodist News

The Council of Bishops is recommending that The United Methodist Church hold a five-day session of its top lawmaking assembly in May 2026. 

This gathering would be in addition to the regular General Conference sessions already planned for 2024 and 2028.

“This also would be a regular session,” Council of Bishops President Thomas J. Bickerton, who also leads the New York Conference, told UM News.

The denomination’s General Conference draws lay and clergy delegates, bishops and others from four continents. The delegates typically consider legislative petitions and elect various church leaders over a period of 10 days. The bishops are suggesting the extra General Conference meet for half as long. 

In a statement released after the meeting, the bishops said the additional General Conference “would focus on re-establishing connection, lament and healing, celebration, recasting the mission and vision for The United Methodist Church.”

The bishops’ resolution also supports a recent ruling by the Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church’s top court

With the pandemic-caused postponement of the 2020 General Conference to 2024, the Judicial Council majority said in Decision 1472 that another regular session must convene between the beginning of 2025 and the end of 2027 to get the schedule back on track. 

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