The African Methodist Episcopal Church is a connectional organization. Each local church is a part of the larger connection.
The Bishops are the Chief Officers of the Connectional Organization. They are elected for life by a majority vote of the General Conference which meets every four years. Bishops are bound by the laws of the church to retire upon the General Conference nearest their 75th birthday.
Presiding Elders (PEs) are the assistants, like middle management, whom the Bishops appoint to supervise the preachers in a Presiding Elder’s District. A Presiding Elder District is an element of the Annual Conference, which in turn is an element of the Episcopal District over which a Bishop presides. In the PEs District, the appointed Presiding Elder meets with the local churches, that comprise the District, at least once every three months for a Quarterly Conference. The Presiding Elder also presides over a District Conference and a Sunday School Convention in his or her District. At the end of a Conference year, the Presiding Elder reports to the Bishop at the Annual Conference and makes recommendations for pastoral appointments.
Pastors receive a yearly appointment to a charge (church), on the recommendation of the Presiding Elder and the approval of the Bishop. The pastor is in full charge of the Church and is an ex-officio member of all boards, organizations and clubs of that Church.