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North Central Jurisdiction will have six bishops

Committee giving a report

On the last day of the 2024 General Conference, delegates approved a report from the Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy setting the number of bishops for the next quadrennium.

General Conference delegates voted to approve funding for 32 bishops for the 2025-2028 quadrennium. Currently, there are 39 active bishops across five jurisdictions in the United States. Based on the unanimous recommendations of the Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy and the vote of the General Conference, one of the current bishops serving in the North Central Jurisdiction will likely transfer to another jurisdiction. In total, three U.S. bishops are likely to transfer to another jurisdiction.

The United Methodist Church here in the United States 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.

The Michigan Conference is part of the North Central Jurisdiction. The North Central Jurisdiction will meet in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, July 10-13, 2024.

The Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy, elected at the 2024 General Conference, plays a crucial role in determining the number of bishops who need to be elected in the United States. Rev. Paul Perez, clergy delegate for the Michigan Conference, and Nichea Ver Veer Guy, Michigan Conference lay delegate, were elected and serve on this committee.

On the last day of General Conference, delegates approved the Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy’s recommendation of the number of bishops for each jurisdiction in the next quadrennium. There will be six bishops for the North Central, Northeast, and South Central Jurisdictions. Nine bishops will serve the Southeast Jurisdiction. Five bishops will serve as episcopal leaders in the Western Jurisdiction.

Nine bishops currently serve the North Central Jurisdiction. Two are retiring: Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer, West Ohio Conference, and Bishop Julius Trimble, Indiana Conference.

Reducing the number of bishops will significantly impact how bishops lead in the North Central Jurisdiction. They will be expected to share responsibilities and work together more closely to provide effective leadership. They will also need to be more strategic in their use of time and resources.

In January 2024, the North Central Jurisdiction 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. Each new episcopal area would share one bishop. The assumption in January was that seven bishops would be serving in 2025-2028. So, there will likely be a need to yoke two annual conferences together under a single episcopal area to reduce the number of bishops to the required six.

The North Central Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy assigns bishops and creates new episcopal areas. Perez and Ver Veer Guy are serving on that committee for the Michigan Conference. The assignment of bishops and the possible creation of a new episcopal area will be announced at the upcoming jurisdictional conference in July and take effect on September 1, 2024.

Last Updated on May 7, 2024

The Michigan Conference