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Recently Read: Jurisdictional Conferences Gear Up to Elect Bishops

by Cynthia B. Astle Fifty-five candidates — including three openly gay clergy and a nominee who has been suspended pending charges — will vie for 15 bishop seats in five U.S. jurisdictions of The United Methodist Church during the week of July 11. The three openly gay clergy came out this spring in a letter […]

Liberia’s United Methodists keep ban on divorced clergy becoming Bishops

(RNS) In the United States, United Methodists are fighting about whether to allow clergy to marry gay couples. In Liberia, divorce is on the line. The United Methodist Church in Liberia recently voted to uphold a long-standing provision barring divorced clergy from running for the office of the bishop. The church’s leaders say the ban […]

Commentary: It’s time to re-think life tenure for U.S. bishops

By Joseph Stains, Special Contributor… One of the less-noted dialogues of General Conference 2012 that comes home for further review is the American way of electing bishops, untested, for lifelong tenure through retirement. While we have clung to this hierarchical model from our Anglo-Catholic forbears, worldwide United Methodism is bringing us fresh vision of shared […]

Question for UMC: Why should I trust you?

By Ben Boruff, Special Contributor… As conversations about denominational vitality and increasingly global mission efforts move to the forefront of the UMC’s mind—as they should—trust-related issues pepper our thoughts. In a recent United Methodist News Service report about the Connectional Table, Bishop Bruce Ough, the group’s new chair, noted “the intense level of distrust that […]

Transition Time – UM bishops leaning forward, looking back

As top official for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey bounced back and forth between New York, where UMCOR is based, and Houston, where she and her husband own a home and she was a longtime pastor in the Texas Conference. But on July 19 she became Bishop Harvey, elected […]

Fresh Faces – New UM bishop elections, assignments

Every four years, the United Methodist Church’s U.S. jurisdictions elect and assign bishops, causing a fruit-basket turnover of leadership. The 2008 General Conference approved a plan that reduced by one the number of bishops in four of the five jurisdictions, beginning this year. The reason is shrinking membership in the U.S., a reality that also […]

What goes on a UM bishop’s ‘report card’?

Kids bring home report cards. Employees typically undergo annual reviews. And now, United Methodist bishops get formal evaluations as well. But just as each class has its own way of grading, each U.S. jurisdiction varies in how it appraises bishops. The 2008 Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book, for the first time requires the […]

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 […]

Election Time: Three jurisdictions will choose bishops

By J. Richard Peck, United Methodist News Service… The attention of the denomination will be focused beginning July 18 on the jurisdictional conferences, where 11 new U.S. bishops are expected to be elected in three jurisdictions. Like General Conference, the worldwide legislative gathering that met April 24 to May 4 in Tampa, Fla., jurisdictional conferences […]

Term limits for U.S. bishops fails

A proposal to establish term limits for U.S. bishops of the UMC failed today. The petition got a bare majority – 463 for; 462 against – but didn’t get the two-thirds majority needed to amend the church constitution. The Rev. Michael Childs of the Mississippi Conference argued that passing term limits would help repair trust in the […]

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