Northeast United Methodists to elect 5 new bishops

June 29, 2004       

By Linda Bloom
United Methodist News Service

Five new bishops will be elected when delegates to the United Methodist Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference meet July 12-16 in Syracuse, N.Y.

The conference will take place in the Schine Center at Syracuse University. Headquarters hotel is the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center.

Starting with committee meetings on July 12, the conference will continue with small group interviews of episcopal candidates on July 13. After an 8:30 a.m. communion service, the first full conference session will take place at 10:30 a.m. on July 14. Balloting will begin then and continue at intervals through July 15 until all five bishops are elected.

During the final business session, at 8:30 a.m. July 16, the assignment of bishops to episcopal areas will be announced. The new bishops will be consecrated in a service that morning beginning at 11:15 a.m.

The newly elected bishops will take office on Sept. 1 and fill vacancies left by five retiring bishops in the jurisdiction. Retirees are Bishop Susan Hassinger, Boston area; Bishop Neil Irons, Harrisburg (PA) area; Bishop Hae-Jong Kim, Pittsburgh area; Bishop Felton May, Washington area, and Bishop S. Clifton Ives, West Virginia area.

Continuing bishops, who also will be assigned to episcopal areas, are Bishop Violet Fisher, New York West area; Bishop Alfred Johnson, New Jersey area; Bishop Ernest Lyght, New York area; Bishop Susan Morrison, Albany (NY) area; and Bishop Peter Weaver, Philadelphia area.  

Any United Methodist elder who is a full member of an annual (regional) conference is eligible to be elected as bishop. Nominations or endorsements are common but not necessary for election.

Episcopal candidates endorsed by annual (regional) conferences include the Rev. Jonathan Baker, Peninsula-Delaware Conference; Rev. Thomas J. Bickerton, West Virginia; the Rev. Sudarshana Devadhar and the Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett, North Central New York; and the Rev. Robert Hill, Western New York (also endorsed by North Central New York).

Also, the Rev. Edward C. Horne, New York; the Rev. Marcus Matthews, Baltimore-Washington; the Rev. Jeremiah Park, Greater New Jersey; the Rev. Lewis A. Parks, Central Pennsylvania; the Rev. John Schol, Eastern Pennsylvania; and the Rev. Vicki Woods, New England.

Among the episcopal candidates endorsed by racial-ethnic caucuses or groups are the Rev. Patricia Bryant Harris, Peninsula-Delaware; the Rev. Aida Fernandez, New England; the Rev. Ramon Evangelista, the Rev. Paul J. Jaw and the Rev. Bo Joong (BJ) Kim, Greater New Jersey.

Also, the Rev. Ha-Kyung Cho-Kim, New England; the Rev. J. LaVon Kincaid, Western Pennsylvania; the Rev. Philip Ponce, Eastern Pennsylvania; and the Rev. Gunshik Shim, New York.

The denomination’s Northeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia. It also includes the District of Columbia.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer.

News media contact: Linda Bloom·(646)369-3759·New York· E-mail:


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