January, 1, 2020

Dear Lay and Clergy Members of Annual Conference,

Every four years, new bishops are elected within the jurisdictions in the United States. In the Northeastern Jurisdiction, which includes ten conferences and nine episcopal areas in the northeastern part of the United States, new bishops are elected when one or more bishops retire.  At the 2020 May Annual Conference Session we have the ability to select individual(s) to be the nominee(s) from Greater New Jersey to the Northeastern Jurisdiction. She/he will be considered with other nominees from other conferences to be elected a bishop in The United Methodist Church. We would like your prayerful consideration of who you believe would serve well as a bishop in The United Methodist Church.

Nominating and electing new bishops is very important within the life of the church. Within recent history, two bishops have been elected from our conference, Bishop Ernest S. Lyght and Bishop Jeremiah J. Park.

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Bishop?
“The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task,” writes Paul in his first letter to Timothy. Bishops in the UMC are tasked with the spiritual and temporal leadership of the church. In order to be properly equipped for this task, the Book of

Discipline describes bishops as having:

  • a vital and renewing spirit
  • an enquiring mind and a commitment to the teaching office
  • a vision for the Church
  • a prophetic commitment for the transformation of the Church and the world
  • a passion for the unity of the church
  • giftedness in the ministry of administration. (¶403)

A bishop must be an ordained elder of the church. Bishops are elected for life and may remain in active service until age 72.

As a spiritual leader, the bishop has the responsibility to teach, preach and lead the church to grow in faith and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

As an executive leader the bishop is responsible for assessing and assigning clergy to churches, raising funds for the life of the conference and General Church mission, casting a compelling vision and organizing the conference to pursue the vision and accomplish goals associated with the vision.

Important skills and attributes of a candidate for bishop include a caring heart, strong biblical and theological understanding, ability to interpret the Book of Discipline, a strategic mind, cultural competence, commitment to the global church, and an ability to connect with religious, business, governmental and community leaders.

The Process
Our conference rules have two distinct aspects for selecting a nominee from Greater New Jersey. This letter brings the two processes together to assist the conference and those nominated.

  1. A nomination process. You are invited to recommend a nominee. This is an important responsibility and you are encouraged to consider a person prayerfully and discern if the person has the skills and attributes listed above. In accordance with Rule 82 of our Rules of Order, there will not be nominations from the floor at the annual conference session and this is your opportunity to put forth an individual for the role of bishop. If you would like to submit a recommendation, please share the name in an email to Joy Foley, Administrator to the Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services who will be administering the Conference Secretaries responsibilities until a new conference secretary is appointed. The deadline to submit nominations is January 24, 2020.
  2. An endorsement process. The delegation elected by the 2019 Annual Conference Session to be our representatives at the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference may examine the nominees and bring one or more endorsements to the Annual Conference.

Anyone nominated under the process above who wants to be prayerfully considered for endorsement will be forwarded to the delegation for their consideration. All nominations are to follow this process.

Thank you,
Bethany Amey-Sutton
Chair of the Greater New Jersey Delegation