Dear Western Jurisdiction colleagues in ministry,
Though there have been many delays of both General and Jurisdictional Conferences, we now expect our Western Jurisdictional Conference to meet in November 2022 to elect bishops. There’s been much conversation over the last two years about the future of our jurisdiction and the episcopal leadership we envision needing in that future.
We anticipate selecting four individuals in November to consecrate as bishop who will lead us in this next chapter of our life together.
As a jurisdiction, we’re working to develop our capacity to be an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today. With the local church and local ministries as the main disciple-making body, we seek to practice the radical inclusivity of Jesus and grow in our ability to create collaborative and generative relationships that embody beloved community and dismantle systems of harm.
Have you wondered if you are being called to that work?
Or, perhaps there is someone you believe has the gifts and graces?
The official description of the role of bishops is found in “The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church” paragraph 403.1 (found here). However, that just scratches the surface. And as our denomination shifts, so likely will the role.
The Western Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy is working with other leaders in the West to encourage earlier and deeper individual and group discernment. Work is in progress to create opportunities for individuals to learn about the role as it exists and is envisioned and engage in processes to help them discern whether they might be called to the role of bishop.
Discernment is also an important part of the work of the delegates who will be meeting to elect persons to that role. They’ll be looking for the intersection of soul, role, and context. Deep and lively faith and the skills and attributes are a given, but they must determine which individuals, from among the many with those qualities, best fit the particular needs of this particular moment in our history. The committee is working to develop support for this work as well, both prior to and at Jurisdictional Conference.
Are you considering whether you are called to the episcopacy? Send us your name and email and we’ll send you discernment information as it becomes available.
Is there someone you’d like to encourage to think in this direction? Send us their information and we’ll send them a note letting them know that we received a request to send them information about discerning a call to the episcopacy.
The names sent to us will not be shared publicly without the consent of the individuals named. Recipients may opt out at any time.
Thank you for helping us lift up leaders for our jurisdiction!
Emily Allen and Jan Nelson
On behalf of the Western Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy