Yesterday, two announcements were made regarding significant events in The United Methodist Church.
The Commission on the General Conference announced the postponed 2020 General Conference will be held August 29–September 7, 2021, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, MN.
The Council of Bishops followed that with the announcement that the postponed jurisdictional conferences in the United States will be held November 10–12, 2021.
Today, each of the jurisdictions in the United States is announcing their plans for providing episcopal leadership for the period September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2021, insofar as those plans have been finalized. The Council of Bishops have approved these plans.
For the North Central Jurisdiction, phase one of our plan has been approved by the Council of Bishops.
Phase One – Episcopal Oversight for the remainder of 2020
Phase Two Episcopal Oversight for 2021 (process and deadlines):
- Bishop Sally Dyck, Northern Illinois Conference, will change her retirement date to make it effective January 1, 2021. She will serve as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference through 2020. Bishop Dyck’s retirement will be a vocational retirement (¶408.2b) as she will become the Ecumenical Officer of the Council of Bishops.
- Bishop Bruce Ough, Dakotas-Minnesota Area, will change his retirement date to make it effective January 1, 2021. He will serve as bishop of the Dakotas/Minnesota Area through 2020. Bishop Ough’s retirement will be a vocational retirement (¶408.2b) as he will become the Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops.
We will have a plan for episcopal leadership for 2021 to propose to the Council of Bishops for their vote no later than June 30, 2020, for a public announcement to follow.
- The bishops of the jurisdiction will continue to work together on a plan to provide episcopal oversight for both the above-mentioned areas for 2021.
- We will consult with our jurisdictional Committee on the Episcopacy and area Committees on the Episcopacy on both this short-term plan (2021), as well as a mid-term plan for the remainder of the quadrennium, and a longer-term plan, post-2024. We continue in a spirit of discernment, weighing various possibilities and asking missional questions.
- In preparation for what was to be the 2020-2024 quadrennium, our jurisdiction had established an Episcopal Leadership Task Force composed of persons from the college, the Committee on the Episcopacy, and our jurisdictional Mission Council. The primary impetus for this task force was a joint recommendation of the College of Bishops and the Committee on the Episcopacy to the jurisdiction that we move from nine to eight active bishops for the 2020-2024 quadrennium. This task force will continue to do its work, now focusing on the period 2022-2024.
Bishop David A. Bard
President of the NCJ College of Bishops