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October 27, 2011

One of the realities that General Conference participants soon experience is that there is not a level playing field among the delegates. The larger annual conferences that send a core group of experienced delegates have an impact that far outweighs what small delegations have, especially when they are made up of first-time delegates. The experienced delegates are frequently involved in key decision making processes within the official denominational agencies and unofficial groups that extend over multiple quadrennium. Their knowledge of the processes and the relationships they have cultivated gives them an advantage while the General Conference is in session. First-time delegates face a learning curve of understanding the culture, rules and procedures of General Conference which can create bewilderment even among seasoned observers. In addition, the size of each delegation affects how other delegations relate to them. Each annual conference has at least one clergy and one lay member, but the size of the delegations varies up to 13 clergy and 13 lay among the jurisdictional conference (U.S.) delegations (both North Georgia and Virginia). Among the central conference delegations (outside the U.S.), the largest delegation has and 26 clergy and 26 lay (North Katanga), with the second largest having 20 of each (Cote D’Ivoire).
-Steve Zekoff

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