GNJ Delegate Statement Regarding Not Endorsing Episcopal Candidates

Greater New Jersey is blessed to have two such women of high caliber and obvious pastoral quality as Rev. Heasun Kim and Rev. Dr. Jisun Kwak. That they are willing to withstand the scrutiny required to be candidates for bishop is an added blessing. Very few other conferences in the United Methodist connection can boast the kind of diversity and quality of clergy that Greater New Jersey takes for granted.

The delegation took a full day to develop a common understanding of the core competencies necessary for a bishop, to develop questions that would allow us a lens to evaluate the candidates according to those core competencies and then to conduct the actual interviews. Each interview began and ended in prayer. Following the interviews, we deliberated extensively. When it came time to vote on whether or not to endorse each candidate, we took time to place the matter before God in prayer. While neither candidate reached our threshold of 60% approval for endorsement, we maintain the highest respect for each of these amazing, talented clergywomen.

It is important to note that the delegation’s endorsement process is merely advisory. We take the time to thoroughly vet each candidate and make a recommendation because most members of the Annual Conference will not have the wherewithal to do so. We take that responsibility very seriously. Notwithstanding our recommendation, however, the Annual Conference will vote as it pleases on May 23rd to approve one, both, or neither of our candidates. Furthermore, it is important to note that even if Annual Conference does not approve these candidates, they may still be nominated and endorsed by one of the 5 U.S.-based United Methodist ethnic caucuses. In fact, Rev. Kwak has recently received the endorsement of the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists and will thus continue in the interview process at Jurisdictional Conference in July.

We sincerely wish the best for Reverends Kim and Kwak in their ministries, wherever God leads them. We are proud to claim them as co-laborers in the vineyards of the Lord.