When The Bishop Visits

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A Statement of Purpose

The Bishop is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Area. As such, the Bishop is not a guest. The Bishop is an extension of the pastoral leadership for the congregation and the Area. Whatever the occasion for the visit, the Bishop is there to strengthen the ministry of the local congregation and to affirm and enhance the connectional outreach and mission of The United Methodist Church.

This page can help you prepare for a visit by the Bishop. Such occasions involve many details, which can make for a smoother and more effective visit. Please read it and call the Bishop's secretary if you have any questions.

Arranging A Date

The pastor should write to the office suggesting a first and second choice of dates and the nature of the occasion.

Some Considerations

The Bishop will come to any congregation at the invitation of the pastor, with these considerations taken into account

  1. The nature of the occasion.
  2. If the Bishop has not visited your church/community recently.
  3. If the calendar permits.

Directions - Please

Send specific driving instructions from West Sacramento, including approximate driving time. Maps are helpful.

On Arrival at the Church

  1. Reserve a parking space, when possible or appropriate.
  2. Assign a host or hostess in advance.
  3. Give the host/hostess specific instructions on where the Bishop may go for a moment to relax and be refreshed after the trip in preparation for the worship occasion, particularly if the trip is one hour or more.
  4. It is always helpful to give directions to restroom facilities.

Meeting the People

Save extended introductions to members until after the service. Then the Bishop can take time and give each person the proper attention.


The Bishop will wear a robe for worship services and will normally use a stole the color of the season unless otherwise determined in advance in consultation with the Bishop.

Physical Arrangements

If the occasion is not one for speaking from the pulpit, provide a lectern for a manuscript or notes.

Introducing the Bishop

Make it short and simple - not flowery. In the worship service, make the introduction before a hymn, anthem, or elsewhere to provide a "break" between the introduction and the sermon address.

Receiving Lines and Meals

  1. Decide in advance exactly were the Bishop should stand or sit.
  2. Have a host or hostess take the Bishop to the place for greeting the people.

Sound Systems

If the Bishop is to use a wireless microphone or other special sound equipment, please be sure there is someone available to check the set-up and give necessary instructions.

Dialogue with Laity

The Bishop is always interested in dialogue with the laity and will answer any questions that may be submitted in advance or from the floor, as appropriate.


Innovation in worship, as on other occasions, is welcomed. However, share unusual plans with the Bishop in advance for consultation and confirmation.


The Bishop will meet with special people if arranged in advance. Aid the Bishop in taking leave.

Share the Hosting

Share the hosting responsibility with the laity. It is understood that the pastor may have last minute details to handle. So, the pastor should feel free to assign laypersons to assist with the hosting.

Unannounced Visits

Always recognize the presence of the Bishop - simple and short. Invite the Bishop to give the benediction, at which time the Bishop may make remarks.

Protocol Reminders

  • The Bishop, as servant-leader, is always last in a processional or first in a recessional. The Bishop is seated nearest the altar, if possible or appropriate. Where there is a processional, the Bishop will carry a crozier, (large shepherd's staff) which will be placed in its holder near the pulpit.
  • The Bishop is the celebrant and presides over any sacramental acts (e.g. communion) to be done as part of the service of worship of celebration.
  • The Bishop gives the benediction in a worship setting or on other occasions when the Bishop is present for an official visit.

The District Superintendent is an extension of the Office of the Bishop. Your District Superintendent and family should be provided with all the courtesies and privileges of the Bishop when invited to participate in worship or other events, in the absence of the Bishop.

When the Bishop and District Superintendent are present, the Bishop is the Chief Pastor and the District Superintendent is granted special recognition as an extension of the Office of Bishop.