From the Western Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy (WJCOE), July 5, 2024

Introduction

The United Methodist Church is journeying through a time of significant change and we are living into that new reality. The historic 2020/2024 General Conference mandated the distribution of 32 bishops in the United States, with WJ entitled to 5 bishops, requiring two bishops to be transferred from other jurisdictions. For reasons beyond our control, those transfers did not materialize, and while the recommendation at General Conference indicated there would be no elections, circumstances have changed since the close of General Conference, resulting in two vacancies that will be filled through elections in the Western Jurisdiction. ( See the press release)

Election Process July 2024

We recognize that there are significant challenges arising from the belated developments surrounding the work of the IJCOE and the resulting election process, and we share the following process, which will require a suspension and amendment to our current Rules. We are making every effort to promote equity and accessibility in this process.

    1. All interested qualified individuals are encouraged to fill out the “2024 Episcopal Candidate Form” found on the Western Jurisdiction website. This will serve as the primary episcopal candidate information that will be shared with the delegates. Please note that filling out this form demonstrates interest, but it is not the official nomination.
    2. Nomination of episcopal candidates shall be made by properly seated delegates during the opening Plenary of the WJ Conference. Upon nomination, each candidate will be required to fill out the “2024 Episcopal Candidate Form,” if they have not already done so.
    3. When nominations are complete, there will be brief introductions of the candidates in addition to answering a few preliminary questions, followed by the certifying ballot. A nominee must receive 5% of the votes on this ballot to be certified as a candidate.
    4. Certified candidates will participate in additional activities before balloting begins, with the intention of helping delegates discern their choices.

Other Pertinent Information

    1. There is no requirement for endorsements by Annual Conference, caucuses or other groups, except as indicated on the “2024 Episcopal Candidate Form.”
    2. There is no requirement for episcopal nominees to be present although nominees are encouraged to be present in order to effectively participate in the interactive discernment process that will take place during the conference. In an effort to ensure accessibility, electronic access will be available for online participation by emailing Dan Hurlbert at . Financial assistance will be made available for travel and lodging for candidates, if needed, by filling out the WJ Check Request form found on the WJ Website, choosing “Scholarship” on the drop down menu, and submitting as directed by the form.
    3. Two pre-conference meetings will be held on Wednesday prior to the start of the Conference, one will be for heads of delegations, and one will be for all potential nominees. Watch for information regarding their scheduled times and locations.

A Call for Discernment and Prayer

In light of the need for apostolic leadership for The United Methodist Church and in the spirit of the call “to be still and know that I am God,” the Western Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy requests that every delegation from the Western Jurisdictional Conference prayerfully examine potential episcopal nominees who have the requisite gifts and skills to lead during such a time as this as well as experience from their involvement in the church at the annual conference, jurisdiction, and/or general church levels.

Finally, we invite everyone to be in prayer for all that will be involved in this process, as we seek to ensure that this is not a political process, but a process that affirms the Spiritual Leaders called by God.

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