The Council of Bishops held fast to its plans to delay electing any new leaders until after the postponed General Conference, despite some delegates’ calls for elections this year.
However, the council also rescinded its earlier recommendation that no new U.S. bishops be elected until 2024 and opened the door for episcopal elections in November 2022.
The bishops called for U.S. jurisdictional conferences to be held Nov. 2-4, 2022, “for the purpose of electing bishops and members of our general agencies,” said Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, the Council of Bishops president.
“The Council of Bishops strongly encourages consideration of mission, context, resources and future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and potential changes in The United Methodist Church in making decisions about the number of bishops to be elected,” she added.
Harvey, who also leads the Louisiana Conference, reported the bishops’ decisions April 30 near the conclusion of the council’s online spring meeting. The bishops’ five-day meeting took place mostly out of public view.
For the past year, bishops have been scrambling to deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadly disease and resulting international travel restrictions have now twice postponed General Conference and put on hold proposals to split the church after decades of debate over LGBTQ inclusion.
The denomination’s top legislative assembly, originally set for May 2020, is now scheduled for Aug. 29-Sept. 6, 2022, in Minneapolis. Harvey announced that bishops affirmed that the delegates elected to the postponed 2020 General Conference remain the duly elected delegates to serve during the new dates.
But before General Conference can meet, more than a dozen of the 46 active U.S. bishops plan to retire or already have taken on new roles with the Council of Bishops this year. Read More