Seven areas in South Central assigned new United Methodist bishops


July 17, 2004               


By Douglas Cannon*


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (UMNS) — United Methodists in seven episcopal areas of the South Central Jurisdiction will welcome new bishops on Sept. 1.


Assignments for the 11 bishops – including four who are newly elected – who will serve the eight-state region were announced July 16 at the final business session of the July 14-17 jurisdictional conference in Corpus Christi. Assignments run through Aug. 31, 2008. New bishops were consecrated July 17 at First United Methodist Church, Corpus Christi, in a service concluding the jurisdictional conference.


Assignments for the bishops serving the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church are:


Bishop Charles N. Crutchfield, 60, Arkansas Area (Arkansas Conference). A new bishop, he was pastor of Central United Methodist Church, Albuquerque, N.M. Bishop Crutchfield succeeds Bishop Janice Riggle Huie.


Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, 58, succeeds retiring Bishop Alfred L. Norris in the Houston Area (Texas Conference), after serving the Arkansas Area since 1996. Norris had served the area since 2000.


Bishop Ben R. Chamness, 64, will continue in the Fort Worth Area (Central Texas Conference), where he has served since 2000.


Bishop Scott C. Jones, 50, succeeds retiring Bishop A. Frederick “Fritz” Mutti in the Kansas Area (Kansas East and Kansas West conferences). Jones will move to Kansas from Dallas, where he was McCreless associate professor of evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Mutti had served the area since 1992.


Bishop William W. Hutchinson, 62, will continue in the Louisiana Area (Louisiana Conference), where he has served since 2000.


Bishop Robert C. Schnase, 46, succeeds Bishop Ann B. Sherer in the Missouri Area (Missouri Conference). Schnase moves to the episcopacy after being senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, McAllen, Texas.


Bishop Ann B. Sherer, 61, who has served the Missouri Area since 1992, succeeds Bishop Rhymes H. Moncure Jr. in the Nebraska Area (Nebraska Conference).

Bishop Rhymes H. Moncure, Jr., 59, who has served the Nebraska Area since 2000, succeeds retiring Bishop William B. Oden in the Dallas Area (North Texas). Oden had served the area since 1996.


Bishop D. Max Whitfield, 59, continues in the Northwest Texas-New Mexico Area (Northwest Texas and New Mexico conferences), where he has served since 2000.


Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr., 56, succeeds retiring Bishop Bruce P. Blake in the Oklahoma Area (Oklahoma and Oklahoma Indian Missionary conferences). Hayes has been treasurer of the Texas Conference. Blake has served the area since 1996.


Bishop Joel N. Martinez, 64, continues in the San Antonio Area (Rio Grande and Southwest Texas conferences), where he has served since 2000.


Bishops may serve one episcopal area for up to 12 years. The traditional tenure is two four-year terms. Bishops in the United Methodist Church are elected for life but must retire from active administration at the jurisdictional conference following their 66th birthdays.


The United Methodist Book of Discipline charges bishops “to lead and oversee the spiritual and temporal affairs” of the denomination and to “lead the church in its mission of witness and service in the world.”



*Douglas Cannon is director of communications for the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.


News Media Contact: Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470,



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