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.
I. Legislative - General Conference
II. Executive - Episcopacy
III. 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.