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North Central Jurisdiction plans for no election of bishops

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC

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The North Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church will convene in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, July 10-13. Delegates from ten annual conferences will meet for three days of worship, business, and learning. On the last day of the conference, the North Central Jurisdiction's Committee on Episcopacy will announce the assignment of bishops.

The United Methodist Church in the United States of America is structured into five areas known as jurisdictions: Northeastern, Southeastern, North Central, South Central, and Western. Every four years, the jurisdictional conferences meet to elect new bishops, assign bishops, and select members of general boards and agencies.

There are currently, nine active bishops in the North Central Jursidiction. That number will be reduced to six. General Conference approved funding for 32 bishops for the 2024-2028 quadrennium. Currently, there are 39 active bishops across jurisdictions in the United States. 

Umv Map 2

US UMC jurisdictional map courtesy of UMVIM website.

Two of the nine active bishops in the North Central Jurisdiction are retiring Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, West Ohio Area and Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Indiana Area. Bishop Frank Beard, who serves the Illinois Area, is moving to long term disability leave on August 1, and will not be serving an episcopal area. 

In January 2024, the NCJ College of Bishops called a special session where two new episcopal areas, (1) Northern Illinois and Wisconsin and (2) East Ohio and West Ohio, were approved. In 2012, the North Central Jurisdiction approved a plan that created the Dakotas and Minnesota Episcopal Area. 

 That means that two of the remaining four conferences—Iowa, Illinois Great Rivers, Indiana, and Michigan will share a bishop for the 2024-2028 quadrennium.

The North Central Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy is responsible for the bishop assignments.  For the Dakotas Conference, Rev. Sara Nelson and Beata Ferris serve on that committee. The assignment of bishops will be announced at the NCJ conference in Sioux Falls at closing worship on Saturday, July 13.

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