Bishop Farr Calls 2023 Special Session of Annual Conference


Dear Annual Conference Members and Retirees,

Following consultation with the Missouri Annual Conference Cabinet and executive committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry, I am calling a special session of the Missouri Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church to be held via GoToWebinar, an online meeting platform, on Saturday, November 18, 2023, beginning at 10 a.m. 

This special session shall be held solely for the purpose of considering and voting upon the disaffiliation of certain local churches from The United Methodist Church pursuant to Paragraph 2553 of The United Methodist Book of Discipline. No business shall be brought before the special session except for the disaffiliation of churches that complete the requirements of Paragraph 2553, a list of which will be provided on the Conference website by Thursday, November 9.

Churches that want to be considered for approval by the Annual Conference session should be in contact with their district superintendent and will have completed their town hall and charge conference by September 15, unless otherwise approved by Rev. Nate Berneking, director of finance and administrative ministries. 

Lay members of this special session will be the same lay member to annual conference invited to the 2023 Annual Conference. Local churches, through their committee on nominations and leadership development, may name a new lay member to attend. Churches may send lay members in good standing equal to the number of appointed clergy members.

This call has been issued pursuant to Paragraph 369.6 of The United Methodist Book of Discipline. Registration for this special session is forthcoming from the Office of Connectional Ministries. Please submit questions related to registration or membership to Annual Conference Registrar Heather Dease at For more information, please visit

In Christ+

Robert D. Farr
Bishop, Missouri Annual Conference
of The United Methodist Church
3601 Amron Court
Columbia, MO 65202
573.777.1290 Office



When will registration for the special session open?
Registration for the November 18 special session will open on Tuesday, September 12. An email will be sent out to clergy and lay members of annual conference, including retirees. For more information, please visit

Our lay member to annual conference is not able to attend, what should we do?
If your lay member or alternate lay member to annual conference is unavailable, the committee on nominations and leadership development, chaired by the pastor, may nominate a professing member to serve in this capacity. That person must register for the conference to receive login credentials for the session.

Which churches are seeking approval of their disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church at the special session?
In 2021, the Conference approved five disaffiliations. In 2022, the Conference approved the disaffiliation of 11 churches. In 2023, the Conference approved 75 disaffiliations. Both the process of closure and disaffiliation is laid out in the Book of Discipline and requires several steps. No church will be proposed to the session that has not completed all steps required by the Book of Discipline. Because of that requirement and the steps involved, we will not have the complete list of church disaffiliations until Thursday, November 9. The list will be included in the Know-Before-You-Log-On email sent on that day and in the downloads section of so that clergy and lay members will have the information in advance of the session. 

Will we be voting on each disaffiliating church, or will they be offered for a block vote?
As has been the case with the previous disaffiliation votes (in 2021, 2022 and June 2023), the Board of Trustees will present the session with a slate of churches who have indicated their desire to disaffiliate with The United Methodist Church because they disagree with the Church’s position on human sexuality and have completed the necessary steps according to Paragraph 2553. The Trustees feel that a single vote on all churches is in the best interest of the Annual Conference, and no church will be placed on that slate that has not complied entirely with the requirements of the Book of Discipline.

My church closed or began the process of disaffiliation during the 2023-2024 appointive year. Do we send clergy and lay members to Annual Conference? 
If the Annual Conference is going to be voting on your disaffiliation at the special session per Book of Discipline Paragraph 2553, clergy and lay members are allowed to be present and have voting rights until the church's disaffiliation is approved. Read more about this recent decision from the Judicial Council. If you are still in the process of disaffiliation, you are still a United Methodist Church and may send clergy and lay members according to your allocation (Churches may send lay members in good standing equal to the number of appointed clergy members). 

What is quorum for a special session of the annual conference?
The members present and voting at any duly announced meeting shall constitute a quorum.

May guests attend the virtual conference?
The virtual session of annual conference will be livestreamed at A recording will be made available.

How can I best prepare for this virtual special session?
There will be a Know-Before-You-Log-On email sent to registered members in advance of the session that will provide critical information related to the business. For context and background, you might consider watching the Trustees report or reading the Missouri Methodists magazine article from the 2023 Annual Conference regular session June 9-11, 2023, in St. Charles.