Hagiya Elected a Bishop of The United Methodist Church in the Western Jurisdiction

July 19, 2008

Hagiya elected bishop of United Methodist Church

Bishop Grant Hagiya

By Marta W. Aldrich*
July 18, 2008 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS)

The Rev. Grant Hagiya of Redondo Beach, Calif., has been elected a bishop by the Western Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Hagiya, 56, a third-generation Japanese-American, was elected July 18 on the 16th ballot. He is one of eight new bishops being elected this week at five jurisdictional meetings across the United States. Two of the openings are in the church’s Western Jurisdiction.

After serving eight years as a district superintendent in Los Angeles, Hagiya in April became executive director of Leadership Development and the Center of Leadership Excellence, a joint project of the church’s California Pacific Annual (regional) Conference and the Claremont School of Theology.

He will become one of 50 active U.S. bishops, including six serving the 12-state Western Jurisdiction. The jurisdiction is home to 390,000 United Methodists in seven annual conferences that span Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, as well as one missionary conference in Alaska.

An episcopal assignment committee is considering where Hagiya and other active bishops in the jurisdiction will serve for the next four years. Their assignments will be effective Sept. 1.

Endorsed by the California-Pacific Conference, Hagiya was elected by receiving 54 votes cast by 80 delegates.

Prior to serving as a district superintendent, Hagiya led California congregations in Los Angeles, Berkeley and Gardena. He has been an assistant professor at Claremont School of Theology, a United Methodist-related seminary near Los Angeles, where he received his doctor of ministry, master of divinity and master of arts degrees. For the last two years, he has pursued his doctoral degree in organizational leadership at Pepperdine University. He and his wife, Janet, have three children.

“It is so humbling to stand before you like this,” Hagiya told delegates after receiving a standing ovation at the conference. He thanked the leaders and people of California-Pacific in particular for their support but added that “a line of demarcation that all the bishops know has been crossed.

“I can no longer say I am from Cal-Pac. I belong to all of you. I want you to know how deeply moving that is to belong to all of you,” he said.

A consecration service for Hagiya and the jurisdiction’s other new bishop will be held at 2 p.m. PT on July 19 at First United Methodist Church of Portland.

Hagiya will fill one of two vacancies created in the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops by the retirement of Bishop Beverly Shamana and the resignation of Bishop Edward Paup. Paup has been elected to lead the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the church’s mission agency, effective Sept. 1.

The Western Jurisdiction, convening once every four years, is conducting its business July 16-19.
In addition to electing bishops, a jurisdictional conference has the power to:

  • Promote the evangelistic, educational, missionary and benevolent interests of the church and to provide for interests and institutions within their boundaries;
  • Establish and constitute jurisdictional conference boards as auxiliaries to the general boards of the church;
  • Determine the boundaries of annual conferences;
  • Make rules and regulations for the administration of the church's work within the jurisdiction; and
  • Appoint a committee on appeals.

The United Methodist Church was created in 1968 by a merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist churches. Methodists elected their bishops at one national gathering until 1940, when the jurisdictional system was instituted. Bishops in the EUB church were elected at one national gathering until 1968.

*Aldrich is news editor of United Methodist News Service.