April 21, 2022 | by Rev. Dr Maidstone Mulenga
In the wake of disruptions and postponements due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the more than 100 bishops of The United Methodist Church will meet once again in a virtual gathering April 25 to April 29, 2022, to discuss the future course of the denomination.
The Spring meeting of the Council of Bishops will also welcome a new slate of leadership that was elected during the Fall meeting in November 2021
The bishops from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America will also hear leadership reports regarding ecumenical relations, anti-racism, disaster relief, and other mission and ministry work around the worldwide denomination.
In these unprecedented times in the life of The United Methodist Church, the bishops will also discuss how to provide greater and more transformative, evangelical, and prophetic leadership to the church.
Council of Bishops President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey used the message of Easter as a reminder to the church about the continuing work of mission and ministry.
“As we turn our hearts and minds from Easter Sunday, we often tend to think that Easter is complete. Yet, as people of faith we are reminded that every day is Easter. The resurrection is not a single event but an ongoing experience of God’s grace and power in our lives,” Bishop Harvey said.
She noted that the upcoming COB meeting will be filled with moments that “I pray will remind us of the ongoing experience of God’s grace and power in our lives and in the life of The United Methodist Church.”
New COB officers
Bishop Harvey of the Louisiana Area, who has led the Council of Bishops since 2020, will preside during the Zoom meeting, offering a final presidential address and handing over the gavel at the end of the meeting to Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the New York Area.
Bishop Bickerton, who has served as president-designate, was elected president at the November 2021 Council of Bishops meeting. Also elected at that Fall meeting and taking office this year are Bishop Tracy Smith Malone of East Ohio Conference as president-designate and Bishop L. Jonathan Holston of South Carolina Conference as secretary.
Bishop Bruce Ough and Bishop Sally Dyck will continue in their roles as COB Executive Secretary and COB Ecumenical Officer, respectively.
Bishop Harvey will serve as the immediate past president of the Council and she called on United Methodists to be optimistic about the future. Paraphrasing Megan McKenna in her book And Morning Came: Scriptures of the Resurrection, Bishop Harvey said:
“May we be resurrection people, people of hope that know the incomprehensible love of God that pours itself out and cannot ever be contained. While the days ahead may be challenging, let us be constantly reminded that the door was flung open on Easter morning and what poured out will never be stopped nor can that door ever be closed again.”
Live stream of the COB meeting
The first and fifth days of the COB meeting (Monday, April 25 and Friday, April 29) will be livestreamed to the public on the COB Facebook page (www.facebook.com/umcbishops/) starting at 9:00 am Eastern time each day.
Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications - Council of Bishops
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