Every four years in the United States, United Methodists elect new bishops following General Conference. This year, the five U.S. jurisdictional conferences, which elect and assign bishops, will be held in July.
This year, two bishops very familiar to the people of GNJ, Bishop Suda Devadhar who served as the bishop of GNJ from 2004-20012 and Bishop Jeremiah Park who was a clergy person in GNJ prior to his election, have announced their retirements.
The Northeastern Jurisdiction is scheduled to decrease from nine to eight bishops because of decreased membership in the Northeastern Jurisdiction. Also, there are several proposals to the May 2020 General Conference to divide the denomination because of different views about how to be in ministry with and by LGBTQ persons. We will not know if the Northeastern Jurisdiction will be required to reduce by a bishop and the future shape of the denomination until after the May 2020 General Conference. In light of this, the northeastern jurisdiction episcopacy committee that oversees the process for election and assignment of bishops has issued the following statement.
We recognize that the challenges facing the church at the current time cause questions to arise surrounding the nomination of episcopal candidates. This includes possible changes to the numbers of bishops in the jurisdiction. We would encourage the delegations and annual conferences to continue their processes of identifying and lifting up candidates for the episcopacy. However, as we draw closer to jurisdictional conference, we know that decisions will be made, beyond our control as a jurisdiction, that may impact our discernment process around the number of elections, if any, and assignments. As those decisions are made, we will continue to communicate with you as we recognize that we are on this journey together.
The NEJ Episcopacy Committee