Our Bishops represent the executive branch of our government structure, the General Conference represents the legislative branch, and the Judicial Council represents the judicial branch. The Senior Bishop is the Chief Executive Officer of the denomination.
- Legislative - General Conference
- Executive - Episcopacy
- Judicial - Judicial Council
The General Conference meets once every four years. The General Conference has full powers to make rules and regulations for the Church subject to the limitations of the restrictive rules. The General Conference is comprised of delegates elected by the Annual Conferences, one half of whom are ministers and one half lay members.
General Connectional Board
The General Connectional Board meets once a year in May, except during General Conference. It governs the general affairs of the Church with such powers as may be fixed and determined by the General Conference.
There is an Episcopacy. The Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church are elected by the General Conference and consecrated in the historic manner of Episcopal Methodism. There is a College of Bishops comprised of all the Bishops of the Church. The College of Bishops plan for the general oversight and promotion of the entire church. A Bishop presides over an Annual Conference.
The Judicial Council of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is like a third branch of government in which bishops represent the executive branch, the General Conference represents the legislative branch and the Judicial Council represents the judicial branch.
The nine member Council, which is elected by the General Conference, guarantees "due process" for members and clergy of the Church and is the final interpreter of The Book of Discipline. Members, lay or clergy, may petition the Council for declaratory judgment (interpretation) for paragraphs of The Discipline.
The council was voted into existence by the 1946 General Conference and became operative in 1950. Prior to 1946, the bishops were the final interpreters of The Book of Discipline.
The Local Church
A local church is a congregation of faithful believers under the lordship of Jesus the Christ. It is the redemptive fellowship in which God's Word is preached by those whom God has called, and where the Sacraments are duly administered, according to Christ's own appointment.
The Church exists under the authority and discipline of the Holy Spirit for the maintenance of Christian worship, fellowship and discipline, the nurture and building up in the faith of believers, the conversion of sinners and the world, and for witnessing so that societal structures may become just in order that the personhood of all peoples may be more fully realized according to the image of God in human beings. The church exists in and for the world. At the local church level believers move from formal worship of God into the world where worship is witnessing through service to human beings.
The local church is a connectional society of persons who haveprofessed faith in Jesus the Christ as Savior and Lord, have been baptized, have assumed vows of membership in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, pledging to support the church by their prayers, presence, gifts, and service. It is an assembly of believers who meet for worship in response to the Word of God and go out into the world to witness to God and His Christ from the unit where there is primary encounter with the world.
The Inclusiveness of the Church. The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) cherishes its place in the universal Church which is the body of Christ and is devoted to acceptance of the Apostolic faith. Therefore, all persons without regard to race, color, national origin, or economic condition shall be eligible to attend its worship services, to participate in its programs, and when they take the appropriate vows to be admitted into its membership in any local church in the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Connection
All persons seeking to be saved from their sins and sincerely desiring to be Christian in faith and practice are proper candidates for membership in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
A member in good standing of any local Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is a member of the total CME Connection.