Introduction to the Council of BishopsIntroduction to the Council of Bishops

Welcome to the Web site of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. We are building this Web site to both provide you with information and to invite your participation.

The Council of Bishops is made up of all active and retired bishops of The United Methodist Church. The Council meets twice a year. According to the Book of Discipline, “The Church expects the Council of Bishops to speak to the Church and from the Church to the world and to give leadership in the quest for Christian unity and interreligious relationships.”[427.2] 

In The United Methodist Church, a bishop serves as a general superintendent of the entire church.  In the United Methodist tradition, bishops are not “ordained” as bishops, but are clergy elected and consecrated to the office of bishop.  Bishops give general oversight to the worldly and spiritual interests of the Church.

Bishops are elected by one of the five jurisdictional conferences held every four years in the United States and by the central conferences outside of the U.S. Bishops in the U.S. are consecrated at the jurisdictional conference and are expected to report for work in their new areas on Sept. 1.

Bishops are assigned by their jurisdiction to serve a geographical area for a four-year term. There are 50 episcopal areas in the United States and 19 episcopal areas outside of the U.S.
Bishops and Episcopal Area Offices are grouped by Jurisdiction.

The President of the Council of Bishops presides over its meetings, but has no additional authority over the other members of the Council.  Administrative work is handled by the secretary of the Council. 

In an effort to provide stronger leadership across the denomination, United Methodist bishops recently voted to lengthen the term of their president and establish a permanent, staffed office.  The president of the Council serves two years instead of the traditional one-year term.

The Executive Committee also includes these additional officers: president-designate, secretary, executive secretary and ecumenical officer. The immediate past president also serves on the committee.

A recently created position, the executive secretary serves as chief operating officer for the Council. The executive secretary will be a retired bishop who will serve a four-year term.

Officers of the Executive Committee for 2007–2008 are:

• President: Janice Riggle Huie
• President Designate: Gregory Vaughn Palmer
• Secretary: Ernest S. Lyght
• Executive Secretary: Roy I. Sano
• Ecumenical Officer: William B. Oden
• Immediate Past President: Peter Weaver

The Council's office is in the United Methodist Building, across the street from the Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

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