Monday, July 16, 2012

Search for a New Bishop

On Monday, July 16th, Linda Holland, Director of Connectional Ministries, and Nancy Cole, Natural Church Development Coordinator and Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator, and I arrived in at Lake Junaluska Assembly in North Carolina for the meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference of the United Methodist Church. The Conference, which meets once every four years, has the primary task to elect Bishops. (If you are unfamiliar with the process of electing Bishops in the UMC, you can learn more here.) Linda, Nancy and I had been asked to serve as at-large pages for the conference and were not voting members of the conference still time and time again, we were told to "bring back a good one!" So we decided we should keep our eyes out for North Alabama's next bishop and posted our discoveries on our facebook pages. Below is what we discovered.

Here is our first possibility--but he is definitely not the Bishop! However he is cute and he giggles when you poke him.

(with Nancy's husband, Steve Cole)
Sweet . . . but not the Bishop!

(Statue of the Honorable Chief Junaluska outside Stuart Auditorium)
Honorable . . . but not the Bishop!

(outside Open Door Mission in Waynesville)
Fully Human and Fully Divine . . . but not the Bishop!

Candidates but not the Bishop

(with bust of Susanna Wesley at the World Methodist Museum)
Formidable Mama . . . but not the Bishop

(with John Wesley doll at World Methodist Museum)
Strangely warmed . . . but not a Bishop

Uncanny . . . but not a Bishop!

A bit stuffy so luckily not the Bishop!

Very Patriotic . . . but not the Bishop!

Makes a mean casserole . . . but not a Bishop

On Wednesday morning, voting began!

(Jonathon Holston)
Bishop Elect 1 . . . possibly the Bishop!

(Ken Carter)
Bishop Elect 2 . . . possibly the Bishop!

(with Dale Cohen)
Looks like Lyle Holland . . . but not the Bishop

Lunch with Ken Carter (while he waits to be interviewed by the Episcopacy Committee) . . . still possibly the Bishop

(Bill McAlilly)
Bishop Elect 3 . . . possibly the Bishop!

(Debbie Wallace-Padgett)
Bishop Elect 4 . . . possibly the Bishop!

By Thursday morning, we had elected 4 bishops with one more to go. We expected a short day of voting but we were wrong! The fourth Bishop was elected on the 11th ballot but the fifth would not be elected until the 28th ballot!

(Gloria Holt)
A Doctor . . . but not the Bishop

(with Bill Brunson)
Funny . . . but not the Bishop!

(Young Jin Cho)
Bishop Elect 5 . . . possibly the Bishop! (and the first Korean-American to be elected as Bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction!)

(Ron Schultz, Bill Brunson, Bob Alford, Hughey Reynolds, and Roger Thompson)
A lot of them . . . but none of them are the Bishop!

Not sure what it is . . . but it isn't a Bishop! And our search for a Bishop is nearing a close.

Tube Dude but not a Bishop Dude

The Search is Over!! Here is the Bishop--Debbie Wallace-Padgett, the first woman Bishop to be assigned to the North Alabama Conference!

The five new Bishops in all their great diversity after their consecration on Friday morning.

Serving at the conference was a blessing and a joy. Our delegation worked long hard hours as they prayerfully discerned their votes. And the Committee on the Episcopacy did a wonderful job of assigning bishops to the Annual Conferences and provided each of the Bishops with a rationale for their assignment.

I'm excited about our new Bishop and look forward to working with Bishop Wallace-Padgett! I pray God's blessings on her and her family as they saw goodbye to their congregation at St. Luke and prepare to come to North Alabama. I pray for the leadership, pastors and laity of the North Alabama Conference that we will be ready to follow her lead. And I look forward to seeing where God takes us next!

The Search Team! Nancy Cole, me and Linda Holland


Janet said...

That was an awesome pictorial guide to the process at the SEJ!! Thanks for your time and expertise in giving us an interesting, informative outlook on the journey to bishop!!!

Craig Clontz said...

Nice report!

altoccb said...

Thanks for so beautifully condensing our week...appreciate you!

Mike B. said...

Good job!

Anonymous said...

This is Great Put a smile on my face. Thanks for sharing.
John Bailey