Philippines Central Conference elects Acdal as bishop

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Bishops Christian Alsted (left) and Thomas J. Bickerton pray for newly elected Bishop Rodel M. Acdal after he received his episcopal pin during the Philippines Central Conference at Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City, Philippines. On the right is Acdal’s wife, Maria Rosario Cherry Acdal. Delegates to the conference elected Acdal on the sixth ballot on Nov. 25. Photo by Gladys P. Mangiduyos, UM News.
Bishops Christian Alsted (left) and Thomas J. Bickerton pray for newly elected Bishop Rodel M. Acdal after he received his episcopal pin during the Philippines Central Conference at Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City, Philippines. On the right is Acdal’s wife, Maria Rosario Cherry Acdal. Delegates to the conference elected Acdal on the sixth ballot on Nov. 25. Photo by Gladys P. Mangiduyos, UM News.

 

The Rev. Rodel M. Acdal, president of John Wesley College and current administrative assistant of the Baguio Episcopal Area, has been elected as bishop in The United Methodist Church’s Philippines Central Conference.

Delegates elected Acdal, 54, on the sixth ballot on Nov. 25 at the central conference’s meeting at Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City. He received 361 votes out of 491 valid ballots cast. He needed 327 to be elected.

Acdal was the first bishop elected at the Nov. 24-26 meeting.

“The church cannot afford to be divided,” he said before the elections. Acdal admitted seeing huge hurdles in facing the threats of division within The United Methodist Church but emphasized that he would do everything he could to sustain unity in the Philippines’ annual conferences. 

“The impending separation is huge to deal with, but I will spend more efforts to sustain unity.  Whatever happens in the General Conference, I will persist to sustain unity in all annual conferences. Our context is different from (U.S. jurisdictions),” he said.

The assignments of bishops in the Philippines Central Conference were announced during the consecration service on Nov. 26. Acdal will lead the Baguio Episcopal Area.

Bishops in the Philippines serve four-year terms before they face re-election or retirement. 

Acdal was the endorsed candidate of  the Northern Philippines Annual Conference.

Raised in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan, Acdal was born to United Methodist parents. He finished his Master of Divinity from Wesley Divinity School at Wesleyan University-Philippines and earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management from Cagayan State University in Tuguegarao City.

He first served as a local pastor at San Andres United Methodist Church in Sanchez Mira in 1993. He also served as district superintendent in South Cagayan-Kalinga Apayao District in the Northern Philippines Conference for seven years. Currently, he is president of John Wesley College, property development adviser to the bishop and administrative assistant in the Baguio Episcopal Area. He also has served as chairman of the division of ordained ministry and as a trustee or board member at Union Theological Seminary, Philippine Christian University, Mary Johnston Hospital, Thoburn Memorial Academy and Northern Philippines Academy.

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.

After his election, Acdal recalled withdrawing his name during the election of bishops at the 2016 Philippines Central Conference.

“Many friends were surprised why I withdrew, but whenever I find myself as a hindrance to elect our new bishop, I would gladly give way,”  he said. “The time I did that, we were able to elect the second bishop.” 

Through tears, Acdal conveyed his hopes for the future.

“This winning moment means new leadership with new breath of fresh air, renewed hope and fervor, new ways of standing on my ground, new ways of light for unity amid the storms of impending separation.” 

Mangiduyos is a UM News correspondent in the Philippines.

News media contact: Julie Dwyer, news editor, [email protected] or 615-742-5469. To read more United Methodist News, subscribe to Free Daily or Weekly Digests.

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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