Jurisdictional Bishop Count Could Be Reduced in Two US Jurisdictions
– The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), notified the North Central and Northeastern Jurisdictional leadership that the number of bishops representing the areas could be reduced based on reported membership numbers. GCFA, responding to responsibilities and membership formulas outlined in ¶ 404.2 of the Book of Discipline
, and the responsibilities of GCFA for the administration of the Episcopal Fund that pays the salaries of bishops, notified the College of Bishops of each jurisdiction that the formula indicates there could be a reduction in the number of bishops from their current count.
Bishop John Hopkins, president of the North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) College of Bishops said “The news that NCJ professing membership dropped .36% under the threshold (or 4,463 professing members) was unexpected, as earlier projections had indicated that this would probably not happen for another year or two. Our College of Bishops and our Committee on Episcopacy ask for your prayers as we consider options in the few months before our General and Jurisdictional Conferences”. Maggie Jackson, who chairs the NCJ Committee on Episcopacy, said “This is a short time span to have this discussion about the possibility of one less bishop for the election process in NCJ for 2016. We will need to have immediate consultation with committee members and the NCJ College of Bishops”.
In response to the notification, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, President of the Northeastern Jurisdiction (NEJ) College of Bishops said “The Northeastern Jurisdiction has been making important progress toward making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The Northeastern Jurisdiction as a region of the world is distinctively diverse, in the midst of deep cultural and religious change and is complex. As a region within the United States, it is home to four of the top ten metropolitan areas. The College of Bishops has spent significant time in prayer, study, and conversation about the future of The United Methodist Church in the Northeastern section of the United States. For missional and congregational vitality reasons, the College of Bishops is concerned about any reduction in the number of episcopal areas. As we approach 2016, the College will continue conversation and collaboration with the Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy. Together we will work toward action that leads, energizes, and engages disciple making efforts which build hope, trust, and relationships that glorify God and lead people to Christ.” Additionally, Bonnie I. Marden, Chair of the NEJ Committee on Episcopacy said “we have noted that several questions about changes to the Constitution initiated by the 2012 General Conference are adding further complexity to our understanding of the appropriate next steps and we welcome your prayers as we discern options for a vital and mission-driven future.”
“While this information is not brand new to us as a denomination, it is particularly important for the jurisdictions being affected to be notified in a timely fashion. Vibrant mission and ministry continue to happen throughout our connection and for that we are thankful. We know that the decisions that will be made will be based on the needs in each area for strong, prophetic leadership,” said Bishop Michael Coyner, president of GCFA.
The Book of Discipline 2012
provides for the reduction of bishops based on reported membership. GCFA reports that the 2014 reported membership for both jurisdictions has fallen below the Book of Discipline
requirement for membership that would require nine bishops. GCFA will ask for the decision of the General Conference – the body that can make the final decision on the number of bishops for each area based on information from GCFA and input from the Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy.
Resources for Vital Congregations
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor
GBHEM Leadership Resources
Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church
Englewood Book Review
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Ted Talks: The Golden Circle
Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability
Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability
Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians
Be A Disciple
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network
Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations
Living As United Methodist Christians
Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials
Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today
John Wesley Sermons: Anthology
Get Their Name
Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit
Canoeing the Mountains
Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People
Community: The Structure of Belonging
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Institute for Emerging Issues
Congregations 4 Children
The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants
The Duke Endowment
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.