North Central elects Schwerin as bishop

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The Rev. Dan Schwerin reacts to being elected bishop Nov. 3 at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. Schwerin, assistant to the bishop in the Wisconsin Conference, was elected on the sixth ballot with 100 votes. He was the third and final bishop elected by jurisdictional delegates at their Nov. 2-5 meeting in Fort Wayne, Ind. Photo by Lisa Wink.
The Rev. Dan Schwerin reacts to being elected bishop Nov. 3 at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. Schwerin, assistant to the bishop in the Wisconsin Conference, was elected on the sixth ballot with 100 votes. He was the third and final bishop elected by jurisdictional delegates at their Nov. 2-5 meeting in Fort Wayne, Ind. Photo by Lisa Wink.

The Rev. Dan Schwerin, assistant to the bishop for the Wisconsin Conference, was elected as bishop in The United Methodist Church's North Central Jurisdictional Conference.

Delegates elected Schwerin Nov. 3 at the jurisdiction's meeting in the Grand Wayne Convention Center on the sixth ballot. He received 100 votes out of 166 valid ballots cast. He needed 100 (60% of valid ballots) to be elected. 

Schwerin was the third and final bishop elected at the Nov. 2-5 meeting. He proclaimed his joy, gratefulness and hope for the call received at baptism. 

"I am so thankful for my baptism, because in every baptism is the power and presence of Jesus Christ. In every baptism is a calling," he said. “Part of the baptismal call is a call forward to step out. In that stepping forward, we discover our utter reliance on Jesus Christ. By faith in that discovery, we discover the newness of God."

Schwerin expressed hope for the church's future.

"As we step forward in our baptism call, all of us discover each other and a newness,” he said. “Because as long as we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we have a relationship with each other and deepen our relationship with God."

He was elected by the North Central Jurisdiction's 176 delegates, an equal number of United Methodist clergy and laity, from the nine states forming the North Central Jurisdiction. The assignments of bishops in the North Central Jurisdiction will be announced later in the week. 

Schwerin begins work as a bishop on Jan. 1. In the United States, bishops are elected to serve for life.

The Wisconsin Conference endorsed Schwerin as an episcopal candidate for election. He expressed gratitude for the bishops that have served as mentors.

"A deep bow to the bishops that have blessed me, my three mentors, Bishop Sharon Rader, Bishop Linda Lee and Bishop Hee-Soo Jung," said Schwerin. "I would not be the Christian I am had I not looked over their shoulder.”

For 35 years, the Rev. Schwerin has enjoyed many contexts for pastoral ministry, including urban and rural churches; a new church plant; and a multi-staff downtown setting that became a reconciling congregation. He launched a beloved community of non-profits to benefit persons with disabilities, children dealing with grief, persons wanting to help battle generational poverty, and children who desired instruments, music lessons and a community who would enjoy their musical growth.

In the Wisconsin Conference, he served as the superintendent of two districts. Bishop Jung selected Schwerin to lead a collaborative effort with conference partners to increase racial justice and radical inclusion. 

He was elected in 2019 as a delegate to General Conference and the North Central Jurisdiction. He has served on the General Conference Task Force on Funding Patterns in The United Methodist Church and the North Central Jurisdiction's Episcopacy Committee.

Schwerin graduated from Perkins School of Theology in Texas and did post-graduate Bowen family systems theory work there. He is a published poet, receiving the Haiku Foundation Touchstone Award for Distinguished Books in 2019. 

In The United Methodist Church, bishops are ordained elders who are called to "lead and oversee the spiritual and temporal affairs of The United Methodist Church." Bishops, in consultation with district superintendents, are responsible for appointing clergy. They also preside at annual conferences, jurisdictional conferences and General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking assembly.

He and other new bishops are coming aboard as the denomination deals with the continuing fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising congregational disaffiliations amid a denominational splintering. 

In his final post-election remarks, Schwerin stated, "I want to begin this time together in deep gratitude for the baptism that sustains our call forward."
 

Wink is director of communications in the Wisconsin Conference.

Find all of UM News’s coverage of the 2022 episcopal elections of The United Methodist Church on our landing page.


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