The Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church recently ruled that the Council of Bishops can call jurisdictional conferences to elect and assign new U.S. bishops.
The ruling follows the postponement of the General Conference until 2024. However, the Judicial Council has determined that new episcopal elections can occur off their usual schedule to fulfill the United Methodist constitutional mandate that bishops provide continuing supervision. Learn more. See Decision 1445.
In light of this ruling, the Baltimore-Washington Conference, according to its rules, has scheduled time in the agenda of its June 1-3 meeting for the nomination of episcopal candidates from the floor.
The rules for this process are outlined in the BWC Manual on Policies and Procedures on pages 29-31.
According to the policy:
- Any Elder who meets the requirement of the Discipline is eligible for nomination as a candidate to the episcopacy.
- Nominations will be made “from the floor” in this online session of the Annual Conference.
- The person nominated will have four hours to submit a written statement to the Conference Secretary describing his or her call to the episcopacy. This statement will be distributed to conference members.
- After a reasonable time for prayer and discernment, a vote on the Conference’s endorsement of the nominee will be taken. Prior to that vote, the nominee(s) will have no longer than three minutes to address the Annual Conference.
- Any nominee who receives 66 percent or more all valid ballots cast shall receive the endorsement of the Annual Conference to be an episcopal candidate at the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference.
According to the Conference policies, the BWC’s delegation to Jurisdictional Conference has the opportunity to bring forward a nominee to be considered by the Annual Conference members. In 2020, when the delegation voted on potential nominees, they voted not to recommend anyone.
The timing of the process for the delegation to take action made it unfeasible for them to consider a nominee to recommend at the June 1-3, 2022, session of Annual Conference.
The Jurisdictional Conferences will be held Nov. 2-5, 2022. Each jurisdiction will determine how many bishops will be elected in their areas. According to Northeastern Jurisdiction leaders, the Rev. Tony Love, chair of Program & Arrangements, and Bishop LaTrelle Eastering are calling the Program & Arrangements Committee together to continue the planning that was started.
The Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy recently released a Pre-Election Process for Episcopal Candidates.