November 04, 2021 | by Rev. Dr Maidstone Mulenga
Bishop Thomas Bickerton, the residential bishop of New York Conference, was elected today as the next president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church during the bishops’ online meeting via Zoom.
"It is very humbling to be asked to offer my leadership at this point in the church’s life and work,” Bishop Bickerton said after the election. “While the road ahead will no doubt present us with great challenges, I celebrate a faith which offers the firm assurance that God will provide us with the light we need to find the next step on the path. My prayer is that with grace and deep respect, we will continue to find ways to love one another as a response to God’s great love for us. I pledge to lead out of that same conviction and covet the prayers of the church as we embark on this journey together.”
Also elected were:
• President-Designate: Bishop Tracy Smith Malone of East Ohio Conference
• Secretary: Bishop L. Jonathan Holston of South Carolina Conference
The current officers are Bishop Fierro Harvey, president; Bishop Bickerton, president-designate; and Bishop Tracy Malone as secretary. The new officers will take office at the end of the 2022 spring meeting of the Council of Bishops.
Bishop Harvey will serve as the immediate past president of the Council.
Bishop Harvey calls on COB to lead by love
As the COB began its virtual meeting Tuesday, the current president of the council, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey called her colleagues to a time of leading by the example of love.
The bishops, meeting online because of the continuing world-wide pandemic, heard Bishop Harvey say, “It’s time to face the reality that our Big Tent is having trouble holding up to the winds of change.”
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