Council of Bishops Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2023
UMC Bishops to meet in person April 30 to May 5 – first since 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In their first in-person meeting since 2019, the Council of Bishops (COB) will meet April 29 to May 5, 2023, to tackle the future of The United Methodist Church, welcome new bishops who were elected in November last year, and work on other topics such as disaffiliations and fighting racism.
It will be the first COB meeting to be held in person since the November 2019 meeting in Lake Junaluska. About 100 bishops from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America will be in attendance in Chicago during the meeting that will also include continuing work to promote discipleship
; and strengthen mission strategies in the world-wide denomination.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to literally unite our hands and our hearts together once more as a Council of Bishops,” said COB President Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton. “The journey these last several years has been challenging. We’ve missed the interaction with one another as well as the kind of discernment that can only happen when you are in the same room.”
The meeting opens on Sunday, April 30, at 4 p.m. with a Memorial Service to remember and honor bishops and spouses who have died since the bishops met virtually last year. Among those to be memorialized are Bishop John Russell, Bishop Robert H. Spain and his spouse, Syble, and Mrs. Socorro M. Granadosin. Also, to be honored in video tribute are dozens of bishops and spouses who have already been memorialized in the virtual meetings in the past three years.
On Monday, May 1, the 17 bishops who were elected in November last year will be anointed during the opening worship. Later that morning, Bishop Bickerton will chart his vision for the Council and The United Methodist Church in his presidential address under the theme Reclaim, Revive, Renew.
Among the reports that will be received and discussed by the bishops is the General Conference Episcopal Address for 2024, which will be delivered by Bishop Jonathan Holston, who is the COB secretary.
The bishops will also hear from general secretaries of UMC agencies and boards and from COB leaderships such as Council Life Together, Leadership Development, Committee on Faith and Order, Ecumenical and Interreligious, Missional Engagement, Anti-Racism, Finance and Congregational Vitality.
Endowing Central Conference United Methodist Theological Education and how to Promote Racial Equality in the Workplace will also be on the agenda.
Bishop Bickerton urged United Methodists to pray for the bishops as they meet and make decisions.
“We ask for the church to join us in prayer and intercede on our behalf throughout the week that we might sense God’s guidance in each decision we make,” he said.
The COB meeting will be livestreamed daily Monday through Friday via COB Facebook (facebook.com/umcbishops) from 9:45 a.m. (Central time) except for those times when the bishops will be in closed-door executive sessions.
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.
Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications
Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
110 Maryland Ave. NE # 301
Washington, D.C. 20002