The Rev. Frank Beard, pastor of Castleton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, has been elected as a United Methodist bishop by delegates at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference.
Beard was elected July 13 at the jurisdiction’s quadrennial meeting in Peoria, Illinois. On the sixth ballot, he received 109 votes, one more than the 108 needed for election.
Beard told delegates that in 1968, he was a “snotty-nosed” kid playing around a United Methodist church when its members invited him for cookies and Kool-Aid — and then provided a scholarship so he could attend United Methodist Church camp.
“That little Methodist Church took me under their wing,” he said. “In 1968, it wasn’t popular for white churches to invite little black boys to be part of their congregation.” Beard said that church blessed him and God called him to the glorious task of preaching the good news.
Beard was the second bishop elected by the delegates, an equal number of United Methodist clergy and laity, from the nine states that form the North Central Jurisdiction. The assignments of bishops for the next four years will be announced later in the week. His four-year term of service begins Sept. 1.
Beard has served Castleton United Methodist since 2012. He was previously superintendent of the Kokomo District 2004-2012. He has been vice chair of the General Commission on General Conference since 2004 and a member of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry since 2012. He is a five-time General Conference delegate and a six-time Jurisdictional Conference delegate. He is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
A consecration service for the four new bishops will be held July 16. The ceremony can be watched live at the North Central Jurisdiction’s website.
Within the United States, local United Methodist churches are organized into increasingly larger groups: numerous districts, dozens of annual conferences and five jurisdictions (regions). Nine active bishops now lead the 11 annual conferences that form the North Central Jurisdiction.
A United Methodist bishop is elected for life. Typically, a bishop will serve in a specific annual conference for eight years. The United Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book, directs each bishop to “guard the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the Church” and to “lead all persons entrusted to their oversight in worship, in the celebration of the sacraments, and in their mission of witness and service in the world.” Bishops also are to be “prophetic voices and courageous leaders in the cause of justice for all people.”
The states represented in this jurisdiction are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Butler is a multimedia producer/editor for United Methodist Communications. Christa Meland of the Minnesota Conference contributed to this story.