WJ 2012: Retirement Celebration

July 19, 2012

By Cate Monaghan
Director of Communications, California-Nevada

Thursday evening at the Western Jurisdictional Conference was given over to a tribute to Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the Los Angeles Area, host bishop for the 2012 WJC (taking place in San Diego, in the California-Pacific Annual Conference). Bishop Swenson is retiring after 20 years of episcopal ministry, and will become the next ecumenical officer for the Council of Bishops - which is, Bishop Melvin Talbert joked, "the closest thing The UMC has to a Pope."
 
There were numerous tributes - including a Christian hula (danced by JoAnn Fukumoto with accompaniment and song by the Rev. Piula Ala'ilima), based upon the story of the rich young ruler.
 
Bishop Beverly Shamana (at right, below), who retired from the California-Nevada Annual Conference in 2008 and now lives in southern California, spoke of the "extravagant hospitality" extended to her and her husband by Bishop Swenson, who threw an elaborate party to welcome Shamana home and usher her into her new life as a retired bishopgenerosity" extended to her and her husband by Bishop Swenson, who threw an extravagant party to welcome Shamana home and usher her into her new life as a retired bishop.
 
Actress Pauley Perrette (well known to fans of the TV show "NCIS"), who is United Methodist, delivered a personal video message in which she reported on a monetary gift to clean water projects, made by Hollywood UMC in Swenson's honor, "because we love you." (If you'd like to participate, visit www.cal-pac.org/pages/detail/2032.)
 
The Western Jurisdiction Episcopacy Committee announced creation of a scholarship in Bishop Swenson's name, at Claremont School of Theology.
 
Photos by Patrick Scriven, director of communications and young people's ministries, Pacific Northwest Annual Conference.