Conference Rules of 1835

The 1835 Rules were a constitutional consequence of the Leeds Organ Case and the Warrenite controversy over the Theological Institution. The new rules were set out in a Special Address to the WM societies and covered four basic areas: (1) Financial affairs (2) the expulsion of members (3) meetings for communication with the Conference or on general matters concerning the Connexion and (4) the proposed revision and clarification of the Rules in general. In the case of expulsion from membership, individuals were provided with more safeguards, including an appeal to the District Meeting which had not been allowed for in 1827. A final appeal to Conference was also possible. The third area was the beginning of Memorials to Conference from the circuits, though the memorials were to bear the signatures of those who voted for them. (This sowed seeds which came to fruition in the anonymous Fly Sheets of the 1840s.) It can be argued that the Pastoral Office was strengthened, though fairly, by these regulations, which did not appease the more liberal element in WM. The historian George Smith declared them 'too late and too limited'.

  • George Smith, A History of Wesleyan Methodism (1858-61) 3 pp.344-50 and Appendix P
  • John C. Bowmer, Pastor and People: A Study of Church and Ministry in Wesleyan Methodism 1791-1858 (1975) pp.137-44