An Expression of The United Methodist Church
ASK YOUR LOCAL
CHURCH HOW YOU
CAN SUPPORT THIS
MINISTRY
Your Impact > Episcopal Fund
Looking at where to put new African bishops
Share:
UM leaders outline criteria to use to determine where to add the new episcopal areas.

The United Methodist Church plans to have five new bishops in Africa starting in 2021. The question remains where to put them.

“You can say everywhere is underserved, in a sense,” said Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, who leads the Ohio West Area. “But there are some areas that are more underserved than others where we need to fan the flames.”

At a recent meeting in Côte d’Ivoire, Palmer and other members of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters outlined their criteria in determining the location of the five new episcopal areas. They also made clear: No decisions have been made at this point.

The 2016 General Conference — the denomination’s top lawmaking body — approved legislation from the standing committee to increase the number of African bishops from 13 to 18.

Central conferences are seven church regions in Africa, Europe and the Philippines. There are currently three central conferences on the African continent.

The legislation calls on the standing committee to “implement a collaborative comprehensive plan on numbers and boundaries of central conferences and episcopal areas in Africa.”

The subcommittee will make recommendations to the standing committee based on its findings. The standing committee, in turn, will use that information in making its recommendations to the 2020 General Conference, which has final say on the number of central conferences and the number of bishops each elects.

The team also will look at the percentage of United Methodists compared to a nation’s population as a whole, he added. The African Comprehensive Plan members are using data reported to the denomination's General Council on Finance and Administration.

Still, he said, statistics will not be the only the driving factors the team will examine. The group also will consider information from a consultation last year with African church leaders in Harare, Zimbabwe and a second consultation this August in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

“What we plan to do is take the data we have — and the data we will acquire over time — to Freetown and have the African delegates who are there help us interpret this data,” Postell said.

Bishop Mande Muyombo, who leads the North Katanga Episcopal Area in the Democratic Republic of Congo, urged the subcommittee to examine qualitative as well as quantitative data.

“You may have the numbers, but you may not be vital,” the bishop cautioned.

Palmer assured Mande that the subcommittee would send questions ahead of the Sierra Leone consultation aimed at trying to get that missional perspective.

“We have raw data,” Palmer said. “Now we’re moving toward the stage of seeing what is the missional potential of particular areas, keeping in mind it is not possible to send a bishop everywhere we think the church could grow. The General Conference has put a cap of five.”

Heather Hahn, multimedia news reporter for UMNS

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Fund pays for bishops’ salaries, office and travel expenses, and pension and health-benefit coverage. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Episcopal Fund apportionment at 100 percent.

Share:
PASTORS & CHURCH LEADERS
Preaching
Questions
Resources
Mission Moments
Give
Contact
Orders: 1-888-346-3862 or
email: csc@umcom.org
Webmaster: lcarey@umcom.org
810 12th Avenue South,
Nashville, TN
Site Map
United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ.
 
© 2018 United Methodist Communications.
 
Download your WCS Sunday Resources NOW!
Together, We Do More Pastor and Leaders Kit