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Hans Vaxby elected United Methodist bishop for Eurasia

 


Hans Vaxby elected United Methodist bishop for Eurasia

Feb. 11, 2005

A UMNS Report
By Linda Bloom*

The Rev. Hans Vaxby of Helsinki, Finland, was elected Feb. 11 as the new bishop of the Eurasia Area of the United Methodist Church.

He will succeed Bishop Ruediger Minor, who is retiring after serving the church’s Russia mission since 1992. In a telephone interview with United Methodist News Service, Vaxby said he hopes to move to Moscow – where the Eurasia Area is based – as soon as possible.

Vaxby was bishop for the Nordic and Baltic regions of the denomination’s Northern Europe conference for 12 years until his last term expired in 2001. Since then, he has been pastor of a local church in Helsinki.

The election, which was part of the United Methodist Northern Europe Central Conference, took place outside Moscow. In a field of eight candidates, Vaxby was elected on the third ballot.

His consecration service is planned for Feb. 12 at a Korean United Methodist church in Moscow.

Vaxby said he was involved in the establishment of the Russian mission "behind the scenes" but never had any formal oversight of the region. "I’m surprised to find myself in this position today, but I was asked to make myself available," he explained. "I felt that God has guided it step by step."

Delegates at the Northern Europe Central Conference also voted to add another provisional annual conference, for the Ukraine, to the Eurasia Area, so that the total region now includes one annual conference and four provisional conferences.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org

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