U.S. Jurisdictions Elect 15 New Bishops

July 17, 2016

U.S. bishops begin new assignments on Sept. 1

The denomination’s five U.S. jurisdictional conferences announced the assignments for bishops in all 46 episcopal areas, effective Sept. 1, following the elections that took place at the five Jurisdictional Conferences last week. Fifteen bishops are retiring and another 22 were reassigned to their current episcopal areas for another quadrennium. All but one of the 15 United Methodist elders elected as new U.S. bishops last week will be packing their bags to move to their new home within their jurisdiction. Bishop Bob Farr, newly elected by the South Central Jurisdiction, will remain in the Missouri Conference where he has served throughout his career, most recently as the director of congregational excellence.
 
The 2016 elections of new U.S. bishops sparked both interest and controversy throughout the connection. Western Jurisdiction delegates meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, elected the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, Bishop Karen Oliveto, despite a prohibition against gay clergy in the United Methodist Book of Discipline.
 
Reaction to her election has ranged from jubilation to disappointment to concern over how to uphold the current church doctrine. In a blog post regarding Bishop Oliveto’s election, Bishop Lowry reminded that everyone should not overreact in their response and trust in the UMC legal process. “Wherever you find yourself in the vast spectrum from celebration to despair, I urge you to breathe deep.  Jesus is still Lord!” writes Bishop Lowry. “Good honorable faithful Christians will disagree on how we are to respond. Catch your breath, pause, pray. The Holy Scriptures commend us to ‘be peaceful, kind, and show complete courtesy toward everyone’” (Titus 3:2).
 
At Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, the Southeastern Jurisdiction elected its first African-American woman as bishop when the Rev. Sharma Lewis was elected on the first ballot. That vote helped propel The United Methodist Church into electing the most women in any new class of bishops in this denomination or its predecessor bodies. In total, jurisdictional delegates elected seven women, four of whom are African American.
 
Here are the episcopal assignments for the next four years, by conference – the SCJ is listed first with the other jurisdictions listed alphabetically following. The names of newly elected bishops and their conferences are in bold.
 
South Central Jurisdiction
  • Arkansas: Bishop Gary E. Mueller
  • Central Texas: Bishop J. Michael Lowry
  • Great Plains: Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr.
  • Louisiana: Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
  • Missouri: Bishop Robert “Bob” Farr
  • North Texas: Bishop Michael McKee
  • Northwest Texas and New Mexico: Bishop Earl Bledsoe
  • Oklahoma and Oklahoma Indian Missionary: Bishop James G. “Jimmy” Nunn
  • Rio Texas: Bishop Robert C. Schnase
  • Texas:  Bishop Scott J. Jones
The South Central Jurisdiction includes the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
 
North Central
  • Dakotas-Minnesota: Bishop Bruce Ough
  • Ohio East: Bishop Tracy S. Malone
  • Illinois Great Rivers: Bishop Frank Beard
  • Indiana: Bishop Julius Trimble
  • Iowa Area: Bishop Laurie Haller
  • Michigan Area: Bishop David Bard
  • Northern Illinois: Bishop Sally Dyck
  • Ohio West: Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
  • Wisconsin: Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
The North Central Jurisdiction includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
 
Northeastern
  • Baltimore-Washington: Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
  • Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware: Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
  • Greater New Jersey: Bishop John R. Schol
  • New England: Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
  • New York: Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton
  • Susquehanna: Bishop Jeremiah J. Park
  • Upper New York: Bishop Mark J. Webb
  • West Virginia: Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball
  • Western Pennsylvania: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi
The Northeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.
 
Southeastern
  • Alabama-West Florida: Bishop David Graves
  • Florida: Bishop Ken Carter
  • Holston: Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
  • Kentucky and Red Bird Missionary: Bishop Leonard Fairley
  • Mississippi: Bishop James Swanson
  • Tennessee and Memphis: Bishop Bill McAlilly
  • North Alabama: Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
  • North Carolina: Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
  • North Georgia: Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson
  • South Carolina: Bishop Jonathan Holston
  • South Georgia: Bishop Lawson Bryan
  • Western North Carolina: Bishop Paul Leeland
  • Virginia: Bishop Sharma Lewis
The Southeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
 
Western
  • Pacific Northwest, Oregon-Idaho and Alaska Missionary: Bishop Elaine Stanovsky
  • California-Nevada: Bishop Minerva Carcaño
  • California-Pacific: Bishop Grant Hagiya
  • Desert Southwest: Bishop Robert Hoshibata
  • Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone: Bishop Karen Oliveto
The Western Jurisdiction includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.