US bishops receive assignments

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Newly elected United Methodist bishops David Wilson (third from left, wearing blue jacket), Laura Merrill (wearing green print jacket) and Delores “Dee” Williamston (second from right) are joined by other bishops and church leaders as they pray after being elected during the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Houston. On Nov. 3, the jurisdiction announced its episcopal assignments, effective Jan. 1. Photo courtesy of the Great Plains Conference.
Newly elected United Methodist bishops David Wilson (third from left, wearing blue jacket), Laura Merrill (wearing green print jacket) and Delores “Dee” Williamston (second from right) are joined by other bishops and church leaders as they pray after being elected during the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Houston. On Nov. 3, the jurisdiction announced its episcopal assignments, effective Jan. 1. Photo courtesy of the Great Plains Conference.

After electing 13 new bishops during their Nov. 2-5 meetings, the denomination’s five U.S. jurisdictional conferences announced episcopal assignments effective Jan. 1. 

Jurisdictional leaders recommended electing 14 new bishops; however, the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference voted to suspend its rules and delay the election of a second bishop until the 2024 jurisdictional conference.

The elections bring the number of active U.S. bishops to 39, but the U.S. currently has 46 episcopal areas. Twenty United Methodist bishops in the U.S. will have retired between 2021 and the end of this year.

Each jurisdiction’s college of bishops and committee on the episcopacy arrange coverage of the remaining episcopal areas, with some assigning bishops to serve more than one episcopal area as 16 bishops have done over the past two years with General Conference postponed by the pandemic.

All active bishops are eligible for reassignment at jurisdictional conferences.

Here are the assignments, by conference. The names of new bishops are bolded in blue.

North Central Jurisdiction 

Dakotas-Minnesota: Bishop Lanette Plambeck

Ohio East: Bishop Tracy S. Malone

Illinois Great Rivers: Bishop Frank J. Beard

Indiana: Bishop Julius C. Trimble

Iowa Area: Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai

Michigan Area: Bishop David A. Bard

Northern Illinois: Bishop Dan Schwerin

Ohio West: Bishop Gregory V. Palmer

Wisconsin: Bishop Hee-Soo Jung

The North Central Jurisdiction includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.


Northeastern Jurisdiction

Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware: Bishop LaTrelle Easterling

Eastern Pennsylvania and Greater New Jersey: Bishop John R. Schol

New York: Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton

Susquehanna: Bishops Sandra L. Steiner Ball and Cynthia Moore-Koikoi

Upper New York: Bishop Héctor A. Burgos-Núñez

West Virginia: Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball

Western Pennsylvania: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi

*New England: A new servant leadership coverage model will be revealed later, covered by the college of bishops.

The Northeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.


South Central Jurisdiction

Arkansas: Bishop Laura Merrill

Areas of North Texas and Central Texas: Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.

Great Plains: Bishop David Wilson

Louisiana: Bishop Delores “Dee” Williamston

Missouri: Bishop Robert “Bob” Farr

Oklahoma, Oklahoma Indian Missionary: Bishop James G. “Jimmy” Nunn

Rio Texas: Bishop Robert C. Schnase

Texas: Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

*Schnase will provide coverage for the New Mexico Conference and Nunn for the Northwest Texas Conference, as they have been doing.

The South Central Jurisdiction includes the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.


Southeastern Jurisdiction

Alabama-West Florida and South Georgia: Bishop David Graves

Florida: Bishop Thomas M. "Tom" Berlin

Holston and North Alabama: Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett

Kentucky and Central Appalachian Missionary: Bishop Leonard Fairley

Mississippi: Bishop Sharma Lewis

North Carolina: Bishop Connie Mitchell Shelton

North Georgia: Bishop Robin Dease

South Carolina: Bishop L. Jonathan Holston

Tennessee-Western Kentucky: Bishop William “Bill” McAlilly

Virginia: Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson

Western North Carolina: Bishop Kenneth Carter

The Southeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.


Western Jurisdiction

California-Nevada: Bishop Minerva Carcaño

California-Pacific: Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank

Desert Southwest: Bishop Carlo A. Rapanut

Greater Northwest: Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth

Mountain Sky: Bishop Karen Oliveto

*Bishops Escobedo-Frank and Rapanut, who lead United Methodists along the Southern border, asked to work collaboratively on immigration.

The Western Jurisdiction includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.


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