(Left to right) Dr. Mary White, head of the General Conference delegation, Rev. Dr. Christopher Jacob Kurien, Rev. James Todd, first elected clergy delegate.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference General and Jurisdictional Delegation voted to endorse The Rev. Dr. Christopher Jacob Kurien as a candidate for the episcopacy.
He has served as Director of Connectional Ministries for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference since July 1, 2011.
Christopher was born to missionary parents in India. Growing up, he lived in various places and settings which have allowed him to appreciate and understand different cultures and people, and become fluent in five languages. He completed his Bachelors, Masters, and Theological studies in Andhra, Kerala, Annamalai and Serampore Universities respectively. He was ordained in 1985 and before coming to the U.S served the Church of South India in various settings.He came to the U.S. to pursue his doctoral studies in Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
While a student in Chicago he served Church of South India congregations in Chicago, Illinois and Toronto, Canada. He also planted an Indian congregation in Detroit, Michigan. After completing his studies in Chicago he returned to Bangalore, India, where he served a large congregation and later taught at the United Theological College. He is one of the founding members of the Indian Association of Clinical Pastoral Education and has served as the Vice Chair of the Chaplains section of the Christian Medical Association of India.
He returned to the U.S. to complete a CPE residency program at the Memorial Herman Hospital in Houston, Texas. After completing the program, he joined the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and was appointed to Reading: St. Matthew’s UMC. Following this, he was appointed as the Northwest District Superintendent and then as the Southeast District Superintendent. He served as Dean of our cabinet for five years.
Dr. Kurien serves on various boards and agencies in the Annual Conference including: Board of Ordained Ministry, Board of Trustees, Commission on Conference Sessions, Committee on Nominations and Commission on the Latino Plan and Ministries, and the Conference Strategic review team. He serves on the Methodist Hospital Foundation board and the Lutheran Seminary Methodist Advisory Council. He is also a board member of the General Commission on Religion and Race and also chairs the planning and Evaluation sub-committee of GCORR. He is member of NE Jurisdictional Native American Task force and serves as an alternate member of the NE Jurisdictional committee on Appeals. He embodies the Global nature of our church. Christopher brings his vast experience in pastoral counseling, administration, new church starts, ecumenical relations and conflict mediation to his ministry in the life of the Conference.
He enjoys family, traveling, playing the guitar and listening to music. He is married to Christy, a Math teacher at Reading High School and they are blessed with three daughters, Susan, Elsen and Ann. Susan and Elsen have completed their Doctor of Pharmacy Degrees and are currently doing residency programs in Boston, MA and New Haven, CT. Ann is an undergraduate student at Boston University.
Three bishops will be elected by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference delegates, July 18-20, 2012, in Charleston, WV. The three openings will be created by the retirement of three bishops in the jurisdiction: Bishops Peter Weaver, Jane Allen Middleton, and Ernest Lyght.
The Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church covers the 9 Episcopal areas (10 annual conferences) located in the area from Maine south to West Virginia. The Northeastern Jurisdiction is one of five U.S. jurisdictions along with seven Central Conferences that serve United Methodists around the globe. For more information on the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference: www.nejumc.org.