2016 Wesleyan Discipline: G. The Development of the World Organization

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G. The Development of the World Organization

60. The merging General Conference provided tentatively for the development of the overseas churches into national or regional general conferences, as they matured and qualified for such status. As a result, the General Board of Administration appointed a World Organization Planning Committee. Its work led to a meeting of mission coordinators and national representatives from around the world in the World Organization Planning Conference, June 6–9, 1972, prior to the Second General Conference. The Planning Conference recommended setting apart those portions of the Constitution which contained the name, doctrines, and standards of conduct plus some new organizational articles, as the Essentials of The Wesleyan Church, which would be binding upon all General Conferences of The Wesleyan Church. It recommended the formation of a Wesleyan World Fellowship governed by a Charter, functioning through a General Council, with eventually an International Board of Review assisting in maintaining faithfulness to the Essentials. The entire plan was approved by the 1972 General Conference, and subsequently the members of the World Organization Planning Conference effected the organization of the General Council.

65. During the following quadrennium two provisional general conferences, one step short of full status, were formed. The Caribbean Provisional General Conference was organized April 3, 1974, and the Provisional General Conference of the Philippines was organized April 22–23, 1975. The 1984 General Conference incorporated the Essentials in the Charter as an historic statement of faith with which all disciplines must agree. On June 20, 1988, the General Conference approved the elevation of The Wesleyan Church of the Philippines to full standing equivalent to that of the North American General Conference, providing for the formation of the International Board of Review. On June 21, 2004, the North American General Conference approved the elevation of The Wesleyan Holiness Church of the Caribbean to full General Conference standing. This coincided with the restructuring of The Wesleyan World Fellowship as The International Conference of The Wesleyan Church.

70. The first International Conference was held in June 2008 in Orlando, Florida. The 2012 International Conference approved the formation of The South Pacific Established Regional Conference of The Wesleyan Church, consisting of The Wesleyan Methodist Churches of Australia and New Zealand together with the mission units of the Solomon Islands and Bougainville. The 2015 International Conference approved the formation of The Wesleyan Church of Canada as an established national conference, which was ratified by the 2016 North American General Conference. The 2016 North American General Conference also approved the formation of the Ibero-America Established Regional Conference, consisting of nineteen nations in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. This action was forwarded to the 2019 International Conference for approval.