In an early June 2021 announcement from the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops, plans were to have an in-person Special Session of the North Central Jurisdictional (NCJ) Conference in November of 2021. Recently, because of the surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant, plans are now to meet virtually November 11-12, 2021.
“In the two months since then, COVID-19 has roared back, fueled by the Delta variant, a variant of the virus that is more communicable than previous versions of the coronavirus, while being equally capable of causing severe disease. While this recent surge in COVID is primarily a surge among the unvaccinated, vaccinated persons are susceptible to breakthrough infections and when so infected are able to transmit COVID to others. All this to say that the health situation since issuing our call for an in-person special session of the jurisdictional conference has changed dramatically,” wrote Bishop David Bard, President of the NCJ College of Bishops.
At the virtual NCJ Special Session, there will be time to:
- To worship and pray;
- To receive reports on work in our jurisdiction and annual conferences on dismantling racism and how we might further this essential work in our jurisdiction and its annual conferences;
- To utilize the processes being developed by the Connectional Table and other denominational leaders, including jurisdictional leaders, to discuss the future of The United Methodist Church, such discussion could include the development of a covenant for living together as The United Methodist Church in the coming months, regionalization in the future of The United Methodist Church, the future of jurisdictions in The United Methodist Church, and the future work of the North Central Jurisdiction;
- To receive reports from the NCJ Committee on the Episcopacy, the NCJ Episcopal Leadership Task Force, and other appropriate persons on the future shape of episcopal leadership, including episcopal areas, and to engage in a conversation about the future deployment of bishops and the role of bishops in The United Methodist Church.
There will not be a memorial service or celebration of the retirements of Bishop Sally Dyck and Bishop Bruce Ough.
“We remain committed to important conversations on dismantling racism, episcopal leadership, and the future of The United Methodist Church. Please know we will make every effort to hold this conference on these dates but need to acknowledge the complexities of organizing a virtual conference session,” wrote Bishop Bard.
More information about the Special November Session of the North Central Jurisdictional will be available soon.