On Saturday, November 5, a new bishop was appointed to serve the United Methodist churches in Minnesota. I can’t tell you who that person is because I am writing this before that date. But I can tell you how the election happens.
The key term to understand is the word “conference”. When a local church like Resurrection gathers for its annual meeting, it’s called a Church Conference. When delegates from all the United Methodist churches in an area gather for their annual meeting, it’s called an Annual Conference (we are in the Minnesota Annual Conference). When the delegates of a region of the country gather, it’s called a Jurisdictional Conference. And when the delegates from across the world gather, it’s called General Conference. Bishops are elected by the jurisdictional conferences.
The role of a bishop is to give oversight to the churches and pastors in their annual conference. The biblical word for bishop (episkopos) means overseer. In the United Methodist Church, their most critical task is to direct the appointment of pastors to the churches they serve. I was appointed to Resurrection by Bishop Bruce Ough, whose recent retirement created the necessity of electing a new bishop.
Last week, the North Central Jurisdictional Conference was held in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At this meeting new bishops were elected to replace those who retired. Then, on Saturday, the bishops were appointed to the places they will serve. Our bishop serves two conferences: Minnesota and Dakotas. It’s a big area: three states. Please pray for our new bishop who will begin on January 1, 2023. I will provide you with more details next week.
“The saying is sure: If anyone aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task.” – 1 Timothy 3:1
God bless your week,