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Bishops gather to discuss future of The United Methodist Church

Photo by Council of Bishops
Photo by Council of Bishops
Council of Bishops Press Release
Thursday, August 18, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the midst of ongoing challenges related to Covid-19 and church disaffiliations, the Council of Bishops will meet August 22-26, 2022, to discuss the future of The United Methodist Church, prepare for new bishops to be elected later this year, and address other timely topics related to their ongoing work.

It will be the first COB meeting to be presided over by newly installed President Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton of New York Area. The more than 100 bishops from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America will be in attendance during the Zoom meeting that will also include continuing work to dismantle racism, promote discipleship; and strengthen mission strategies in the world-wide denomination. 

“Even in the midst of challenges that consume much of our time, we are intentionally spending the time necessary to focus our work on the ongoing mission and ministry of The United Methodist Church. I am eager for us to spend these next few days providing the best practices and support necessary to equip us for the work that lies ahead,” said Bishop Bickerton.

The meeting opens on Monday, Aug. 22, with a Memorial Service to remember and honor bishops’ spouses who have died since May this year. Among those to be memorialized are Mrs. Margaret Rose King, spouse of retired Bishop James King; Mrs. Nshimba Ntambo, spouse of retired Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo;  and Mrs. Annegret Klaiber, spouse of retired Bishop Walter Klaiber.

Bishop Bickerton is expected to plot his vision for the Council and the UMC in his presidential address. He is likely going to address the ongoing disaffiliation of some of UMC members and charter a way forward for the rest of the church.

The bishops will receive and act on reports regarding work to end racism, promote ecumenical ministries, discern legal decisions, discuss disaffiliation issues, and tackle gun violence proposals. They will also hear an update on Boys Scouts of America ligation. Also on the agenda are the forthcoming episcopal elections in Jurisdictional and Central Conferences.

“As always, we ask the church to be praying for us as we gather," Bishop Bickerton said. "The partnership we share in prayer unites us in the hope that we will be able to do the kinds of things that God would bless.” 

The COB meeting will be livestreamed via COB Facebook ( on the opening and closing days: Monday, Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Time.; and on Friday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Time. 

About the Council of Bishops:
The Council of Bishops is made up of all active and retired bishops of The United Methodist Church. Bishops give oversight to the worldly and spiritual interests of the Church.
Media Contact:
Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga

Director of Communications - Council of Bishops
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(202) 748-5172

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