The United Methodist Church is governed by a General Conference held every four years. With elected degates consisting of both clergy and laity, this conference reviews the rules as printed in the Book of Discipline and votes on all proposed changes to church doctrine or adminstrative rules, resulting in a new edition of the Book of Discipline. The proceedings of the General Conference, with full transcripts of discussions at the main meeting, are reported the next day in the Daily Christian Advocate. At the end of the meeting, these proceedings are edited into a bound volume, The Journal of the General Conference. However, beginning in 1988, rather than edit a volume for the journal, a bound copy of the complete Daily Christian Advocate is issued as the Journal.
Daily Christian Advocate.
Issued as daily proceedings; beginning in 1976 with Advance Edition, and in 1980 with Round Edition. Advance Edition contains the list of delegates, committees, seating locations, the text of all proposed changes to the Book of Discipline,
and reports from various agencies to the General Conference. The Advance Edition contains an index of all petitions filed, noting which committee will consider the item. Most petitions come to the main floor on a Calendar from the committee and are voted upon as a group. Only controversial topics may actually be discussed on the floor; committee proceedings are not published.
- Journal of the General Conference. This volume contains the transcripts of daily proceedings with an index of topics. Starting in 1988, however, a bound set of the Daily Christian Advocate replaces the edited and indexed volume.
- The Book of Discipline. “The Discipline is the book of law of theUnited Methodist Church.” The 1996 book contains the Constitution, Doctrine and Doctrinal Statements, General Rules, and Social Principles of the church. It contains sections on The Mission and Ministry of the Church, The Local Church, The Ministry of the Ordained, The Superintendency, The Conferences, Administrative Order, Church Property, and Judicial Administration. It contains a historical statement on the church, and a list of all bishops. As the book is revised every four years, each volume may have different sections, and paragraphs or sections may be re-numbered, re-worded, or completely re-written.