July Conferences Elect New Bishops
[caption id="attachment_6457" align="aligncenter" width="634"]
Retired Bishop Marion Edwards kisses newly elected Bishop Paul Leeland during the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference's service of consecration in 2008. The five U.S. jurisdictions will elect 15 new bishops and assigned its new and continuing bishops July 13-16, 2016.[/caption]
by Heather Hahn (UMNS)
While the U.S. political scene focuses on who is winning red and blue states, many United Methodists are preparing to vote on who will wear the purple.
Starting July 13, the five U.S. jurisdictional conferences
will elect a total of 15 bishops. The gatherings also will finalize the next assignments for a number of already active episcopal leaders. In addition, two of the meetings will take up proposals on consolidating conference boundaries.
Central conferences — United Methodist regions in Africa, Europe and the Philippines — have elections scheduled later in 2016 and in early 2017.
So far, at least 55 clergy in the United States have announced their candidacy for bishop. In some jurisdictions, delegates also can nominate candidates from the floor.
The United Methodists who vote on bishops include General Conference delegates and other church leaders.
Each conference elects twice as many delegates to jurisdictional conferences as they do to the denomination’s top lawmaking body. That means a total of 1,008 delegates will vote in this month’s U.S. bishop elections. The delegates include an equal number of laity and clergy.
All newly elected U.S. bishops will take office Sept. 1.
What bishops do
United Methodist bishops do not wear miters or special robes
. Their main distinctive garment is a simple purple clergy shirt. While limited in fashion choices, bishops do wear multiple hats, metaphorically speaking.
Bishops are elders “set apart for a ministry of servant leadership, general oversight and supervision,” states the Book of Discipline
, the denomination’s governing document.
United Methodist bishops appoint clergy. They also are the first stop when clergy face complaints under church law.
They oversee general church agencies as board members and sometimes agency presidents. They represent the denomination in ecumenical and interfaith relationships. They also frequently represent the church in the wider community and before state and national governments.
Impact on sexuality commission
This new class of bishops, at least in the near future, will have an additional task.
General Conference 2016 in May gave the Council of Bishops authority
to name a special commission that will review and possibly recommend revisions to church teachings related to human sexuality. The lawmaking assembly also voted to hit the pause button on the sexuality debate during the gathering.
The bishops are considering calling a special General Conference in 2018 or 2019
to take up the commission’s work.
The hope is to keep a deeply divided denomination united.
The Book of Discipline, since 1972, has stated that all people are of sacred worth, but the church considers the practice of homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching
.” The church bans pastors from officiating at same-gender weddings and bans the ordination of “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.
However, debate has intensified in recent years, and in the month since General Conference, a number of U.S. conferences have declared that they will not conform to these bans
. Three of the U.S. bishop candidates are openly gay
At this point, the Council of Bishops has tasked its 17-member executive committee
with developing a process to appoint the human-sexuality commission and creating a timeline for the commission’s work. The executive committee is scheduled next to meet the week after jurisdictional conferences.
Newly elected bishops eventually will also have a say in what happens with the bishops’ proposed“Way Forward.”
“This new class of bishops will bring important perspective and experience to the council's work related to implementing the proposal,” said Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce Ough, the Council of Bishops president.
Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service. Contact her at (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the entire article at UMNS
which includes: links to profiles of all the episcopal candidates, details of the jurisdictional gatherings, and a list of all retiring bishops.
Keep up with the news from SEJ 2016 at: http://wnccumc.org/sej-2016/
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 email@example.com.