|Southeast United Methodists to elect six new bishops
By Kathy L. Gilbert
United Methodist News Service
Six new bishops will be elected when delegates to the United Methodist Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference meet July 14-17 at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
Bishops James R. King Jr. and Ray W. Chamberlain Jr. will begin the conference with a communion service at 9 a.m., July 14. The first balloting will begin at 11:45 a.m. and continue at intervals through July 17 until all six bishops are elected.
During the final business session July 17, the assignment of bishops to episcopal areas will be announced. The new bishops will be consecrated in a service that morning beginning at 10 a.m.
The newly elected bishops will take office on Sept. 1 and fill vacancies left by six retiring bishops in the jurisdiction. Retirees are Bishop Kenneth L. Carder, Mississippi area; Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain Jr., Holston area; Bishop Marion M. Edwards, Raleigh area; Bishop Robert E. Fannin, Birmingham area; Bishop William Morris, Nashville area; and Bishop Joe E. Pennel Jr., Richmond area.
Continuing bishops, who also will be assigned to episcopal areas, are Bishop Lindsey G. Davis, North Georgia area; Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, Alabama-West Florida area; Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer, Charlotte area; Bishop James R. King Jr., Louisville area; Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey, Columbia area; Bishop B. Michael Watson, South Georgia area; and Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, Florida area.
Any United Methodist elder who is a full member of an annual (regional) conference is eligible to be elected as bishop. Nominations or endorsements are common but not necessary for election.
Episcopal candidates endorsed by annual (regional) conferences include the Rev. Clarence R. Brown, Virginia Conference; the Rev. Harry Durbin, Memphis Conference; the Rev. Alfred Gwinn, Kentucky Conference; the Rev. L. Jonathan Holston, North Georgia Conference; the Rev. Thomas A. "Andy" Langford III, Western North Carolina Conference; the Rev. Joe May, Mississippi Conference; the Rev. Jerry H. Mayo, Tennessee Conference; the Rev. Jerald Russell, Holston Conference; the Rev. James Swanson, South Georgia Conference; the Rev. Mary Virginia "Dindy" Taylor, Holston Annual Conference; the Rev. Hope Morgan Ward, North Carolina Conference; the Rev. Gary Ward, North Alabama Conference; the Rev. Wil Willimon, South Carolina Conference; and the Rev. Richard Wills, Florida Conference.
Among the episcopal candidates endorsed by racial-ethnic caucuses or groups are the Rev. Arnetta Beverly, Western North Carolina Conference; the Rev. Charles Johnson, South Carolina Conference; the Rev. Liana Perez- Felix, Memphis Conference; and the Rev. Sam Wynn, North Carolina Conference.
The denomination's Southeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer.
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