Eleven bishops elected; episcopal assignments made

Eleven new United Methodist bishops were elected in three U.S. jurisdictions in conferences Wednesday through Friday. Jurisdictional conferences meet every four years, with half the delegates being lay people and clergy the other half.

In 2010, conference realignments resulting from membership losses in the U.S. required that four of the five U.S. jurisdictions eliminate one episcopal post by 2012. For this reason, no bishops were elected in the Western and North Central jurisdictions after the retirement of Bishop Mary Ann Swenson (Los Angeles Area) and Bishop Linda Lee (Wisconsin Area).

The Southeastern Jurisdiction — which already had one fewer bishop than the formula allowed — met in Lake Junaluska, N.C., and elected five bishops to replace five retiring bishops: the Rev. Jonathan Holston of the North Georgia Conference, who currently serves as senior pastor at St. James UMC, Atlanta; the Rev. Ken Carter, superintendent of the Waynesville District of the Western North Carolina Conference; the Rev. Bill McAlilly, superintendent of the Mississippi Conference’s Seashore District; the Rev. Debbie Wallace-Padgett of the Kentucky Conference, lead pastor of St. Luke UMC in Lexington, Ky.; and the Rev. Young Jin Cho, superintendent of the Arlington District in the Virginia Conference.

The Northeastern Jurisdiction met in Charleston, W.Va., and elected three bishops to replace three retiring bishops. Elected were the Rev. Sandra Steiner Ball, director of connectional ministries for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference; the Rev. Martin McLee, superintendent of the Metro Boston Hope District in the New England Conference; and the Rev. Mark J. Webb, superintendent of the York District in the Susquehanna Conference.

The South Central Jurisdiction met in Oklahoma City to elect three bishops. Elected were the Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Texas Conference, who has served the last two years as deputy general secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief; the Rev. Gary Mueller, North Texas Conference, pastor of First UMC in Plano; and the Rev. Mike McKee, Central Texas Conference, pastor of First UMC in Hurst.

North Central Delegates are meeting in Akron, Ohio, July 18-21 for the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Moving Forward in Christ…Where the Rubber Meets the Road.”  The Western Jurisdictional Conference’s meeting runs July 18-21 in San Diego, Calif., with the theme, “Extending Extravagant Hospitality.”

Here are where bishops have been assigned in the Southeastern Jurisdiction:

  • Alabama West Florida – Bishop Paul L. Leeland
  • Charlotte – Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster
  • Florida – Bishop Ken Carter
  • Columbia – Bishop Jonathan Holston
  • Holston – Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
  • Louisville – Bishop Lindsey Davis
  • Mississippi – Bishop James Swanson
  • Nashville – Bishop Bill McAlilly
  • North Georgia – Bishop Mike Watson
  • Raleigh – Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
  • Richmond – Bishop Young Jin Cho
  • Birmingham – Bishop Debbie Wallace-Padgett
  • South Georgia – Bishop James King

Episcopal assignments for the Northeastern Jurisdiction:

  • Boston Area (New England Annual Conference): Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
  • Harrisburg Area (Susquehanna Annual Conference): Bishop Jeremiah J. Park
  • New Jersey Area (Greater New Jersey Annual Conference): Bishop John Schol
  • New York Area (New York Annual Conference): Bishop Martin McLee
  • Philadelphia Area (Eastern Pennsylvania, Peninsula-Delaware annual conferences): Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
  • Pittsburgh Area (Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference): Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton
  • Upper New York Area (Upper New York Annual Conference): Bishop Mark Webb
  • Washington Area (Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference): Bishop Marcus Matthews
  • West Virginia Area (West Virginia Conference): Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball
The episcopal assignments for the North Central Jurisdiction are:
  • East Ohio: Bishop John Hopkins
  • West Ohio: Bishop Gregory Palmer
  • Michigan Area: Bishop Deborah Kiesey
  • Indiana: Bishop Michael Coyner
  • Northern Illinois: Bishop Sally Dyck
  • Illinois Great Rivers: Bishop Jonathan Keaton
  • Wisconsin: Bishop Hee Soo Jung
  • Iowa: Bishop Julius Trimble
  • Dakotas/Minnesota Area: Bishop Bruce Ough
In the Western Jurisdiction, here are the assignments:
  • Bishop Robert Hoshibata, who has served the Portland Area (Oregon-Idaho Conference) for eight years, is heading to the Phoenix Area (Desert Southwest Conference).
  • Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who has served the Phoenix Area (Desert Southwest Conference) for 8 years will be heading to the California-Pacific Conference.
  • Bishop Grant J. Hagiya, who has served the Seattle Area (Pacific Northwest Conference and Alaska Missionary Conference), will remain in Seattle to serve the newly formed Greater Northwest Episcopal Area (Alaska Conference, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences).
  • Bishops returning to their current areas for second terms are: Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, Mountain Sky Area (Rocky Mountain & Yellowstone Conferences). Bishop Warner Brown, San Francisco Area (California-Nevada Conference)

South Central Jurisdiction assignments are:

  • Newly elected Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Louisiana
  • Newly elected Bishop Gary Mueller, Arkansas
  • Newly elected Bishop Mike McKee, North Texas
  • Bishop Janice Huie, Texas
  • Bishop Robert Hayes, Oklahoma
  • Bishop Mike Lowry, Central Texas
  • Bishop Jim Dorff, newly combined Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conferences
  • Bishop Scott Jones, Great Plains (newly combined Kansas West, Kansas East and Nebraska Conferences)
  • Open, Northwest Texas/New Mexico (to be filled at direction of College of Bishops)

Bishop Earl Bledsoe, has been placed in “retired relationship” pending appeal to Judicial Council.

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Interesting that Norhwest Texas/New Mexico is left unfilled. One can pray for a Spirt-filled & compassionate individual to fill the vacancy–if there might be a person who meets that criteria in the asking………………………..

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