Oct 01, 2021

Bishop John R. Schol became episcopal leader of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference September 1, 2021. He leads both Eastern PA and the Greater New Jersey Conference, which he has led since 2012.

Bishop Schol has a heart for Eastern PA, having been raised in Philadelphia and having served here first in his ministry career, where his faith and leadership skills were nurtured. Here is where he developed strong values of hard work, a respect for diversity, a drive toward ingenuity and excellence, and a spirit of grace.

Bishop Schol served congregations in Saugus, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, and West Chester, Pennsylvania. In each of his congregations, worship grew, mission in the community expanded with new creativity, and new disciples were made.

For 12 years he served as the Executive Director of the Frankford Group Ministry in Philadelphia. This new, emerging cooperative ministry that aligned four United Methodist congregations grew from one staff person to more than 50 staff positions. The ministry led its community in developing better race relations and providing social services, community economic development and community arts programs for human development. During and after his ministry there, the ministry also led its community in building and rehabilitating more than 200 housing units and served more than 20,000 people a year.

In the 1990s John Schol served the denomination by leading Urban Ministries at the General Board of Global Ministries. There he developed and led at least two major, successful initiatives: Communities of Shalom and Holy Boldness. The Communities of Shalom initiative started more than 1,000 sites globally and trained more than 5,000 people in church and community development. And Holy Boldness developed into a collaborative urban ministry training and congregational development movement that served districts and conferences around the UMC connection.

Since his election in 2004, Bishop Schol, along with his wife Beverly Schol, has served with distinction as the Episcopal Leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference (Washington Episcopal Area, 2004-2012), the Greater New Jersey Conference (New Jersey Episcopal Area, 2012 to present) and now the Eastern PA Conference (Philadelphia Episcopal Area, 2021 to present).