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

July 19, 2008

Stanovsky elected a bishop of United Methodist Church

Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky

By Marta W. Aldrich*
July 19, 2008 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS)

The Rev. Elaine J.W. Stanovsky of Seattle has been elected a bishop by the Western Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Stanovsky, 54, a district superintendent in Seattle, was elected on July 19 on the 25th ballot. She is the last of eight new U.S. bishops elected this week at five jurisdictional meetings across the United States. She will fill one of two openings in the church’s Western Jurisdiction. The Rev. Grant Hagiya, of Redondo Beach, Calif., will fill the other after being elected on July 18.

Ordained as a United Methodist deacon in 1981 and as an elder in 1983, Stanovsky has served Washington congregations in Renton and Seattle and headed the Church Council of Greater Seattle from 1990 to 1995. She has been a district superintendent in Puget Sound and in Tacoma, as well as a director of connectional ministries for the Pacific-Northwest Conference and assistant to the bishop.

She 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 was to announce later on July 19 where Stanovsky and other active bishops will serve for the next four years. Their assignments will be effective Sept. 1. A consecration service was scheduled for 2 p.m. PT at First United Methodist Church of Portland.

Endorsed by the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference, Stanovsky was elected after receiving 53 votes cast by 70 delegates.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School.

“I claim my baptism this day and the special callings to which God has called me,” said an emotional Stanovsky after her election was announced. “… May God lead us faithfully forward in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Surrounded by her husband, Clinton Stanovsky, and their three grown sons, she said she has thought a lot about family as of late. “I am so grateful for a family that brought me into the church,” she said.

Stanovsky and Hagiya will fill 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, conducted 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.