by Dr. Maidstone Mulenga, COB Director of Communications
In response to Judicial Council decision 1445,
the Council of Bishops (COB) has formally set the dates for regular sessions of the Jurisdictional Conferences of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be convened November 2-5, 2022.
During a special COB meeting held today, the bishops approved a motion that the jurisdictional conferences will meet for purpose of the election and assignment of new bishops for the limited purpose of effectuating the continuance of the episcopacy in The United Methodist Church.
Each jurisdiction will determine how many bishops will be elected in their areas.
The President of the Council, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton said, “I was very pleased that the council engaged in a very thorough and thoughtful discussion. We weighed and balanced all of the pros and cons involved in making this decision. While there is no scenario that is without obstacles, we celebrate the ability we have been given to conduct Jurisdictional Conferences and elect bishops to serve the church in its next expression.”
In another development, the bishops voted to ask the Judicial Council for clarification on the following issues:
- Does Decision 1445 mean that only those bishops elected to fill vacancies existing as of the jurisdictional conferences in November 2022 may be assigned to fill those vacancies or may active bishops already serving in the jurisdiction be reassigned to fill the vacancies and newly elected bishops be assigned to fill vacancies created when active bishops are reassigned?
- If a bishop who must retire “on August 31 next following the regular session of the jurisdictional conference” elects to remain in the bishop’s assignment from the adjournment of the jurisdictional conference in November 2022 until August 31 of 2023, how can a newly elected bishop be assigned on an interim basis to the episcopal area served by the retiring bishop before August 31, 2023?
The Council of Bishops encourages the entire church to continue in deep, unceasing prayer for the Church and the world in this difficult time in the life of the church.