Presently, the UMC Constiution requires that there be a balance of clergy and lay delegates at annual conferences. This count includes all clergy, appointed to churches and other places and clergy who are retired. This means that several at-large lay delegates represent districts to make up for the imbalance. However, not all retired clergy are able to or choose to attend. A proposal considered by the General Conference would invite retired and incapacitated clergy an opportunity to decline to attend. This would decrease the number of at-large lay delegates needed to balance the numbers. This would, in the end, decrease the cost of holding annual conferences.
The petition was approved by the delegates. This will, most likely, reduce the number of at-large laity attending annual conference.