SAN FRANCISCO – In a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25, the College of Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction shared with the jurisdiction Leadership Team, their plan for realignment of the episcopal areas of the Western Jurisdiction.
The plan calls for the current Portland and Seattle areas to be joined into one area. This means the Oregon-Idaho and the Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences, along with the Alaska Missionary Conference, will be supervised by one episcopal area. The Alaska Conference is currently supervised by the bishop of the Seattle area and some administrative services are provided by the Pacific Northwest Conference Center.
In making the realignment plans, the bishops considered the missional needs and priorities of the Annual Conferences in the jurisdiction. Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata, President of the College of Bishops, shared with the assembled leaders, "In our prayerful consultation with other groups and leaders, it became clear that the best partnership for effective ministry would be one that builds on the cultural affinity of our most northwest states."
Although reducing the availability of episcopal leadership in the jurisdiction will be a challenge, the college, along with other leaders in the jurisdiction, is looking to use this as an opportunity to move forward with a concept of "permeable boundaries." By viewing the boundaries of episcopal areas and Annual Conferences as permeable, it is hoped that skills, gifts, graces, and knowledge of leaders can flow across boundaries to further the jurisdiction's commitment to radical hospitality and making disciples of Jesus Christ.
A transition team is being formed to consider details of the realignment. Each Annual Conference in the Western Jurisdiction will contribute to a fund for transition team consultation and other expenses. Consultant Gil Rendle will assist the transition team as it creates a detailed plan for the realignment.
The Western Jurisdiction is composed of seven Annual Conferences and the Alaska Missionary Conference. It covers 11 Western states, Guam, and Saipan.