It’s the second Monday of the month. That means it’s a special day of prayer and fasting for those of us on the North Central Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee. The committee goes into action this week as delegates to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Peoria, IL, elect four new bishops. Following the last election, the Episcopacy Committee will assign all nine NCJ bishops–including the four newly elected ones–to the nine Episcopal Areas in the NCJ (Midwest). As Bishop Mike Coyner is retiring, the Indiana Conference will be receiving a new bishop, something that has happened only once in the last 24 years!
So, I invite you, on my day of prayer and fasting, to join me this week in praying for the Jurisdictional Conference, not only ours in the Midwest, but the other four in the U.S., which will be meeting at the same time. Together we’ll be electing a number of new United Methodist bishops. Pray for the candidates. Pray for us delegates who will be discerning which candidates to elect. Pray for the twenty-two of us on the Episcopacy Committee who will be determining where to assign the nine NCJ bishops. Pray, above all, that the Holy Spirit guides the entire process and that God’s will is done.
Prayer makes such a huge difference! I had a greater sense of prayer support at the recent General Conference in Portland than any of the previous General Conferences I’ve attended. I sensed God’s spirit on the floor of the conference. And I believe we experienced a Kairos moment when we adopted the bishop’s proposal to create a commission to bring a plan dealing with human sexuality issues. Never before had General Conference delegates asked the bishops to lead in this way. I believe God’s movement in Portland among those of us there was a result of the prayers of many, many people and churches around the world. If you were one of them, thank you so much!
With the election and assignment of bishops, the Jurisdictional Conference, I believe, will likely impact your church and mine, and our conference, more than any action taken at General Conference. So don’t stop praying. This week let’s lift our church and this special process to God and may the results be a real blessing to our churches, conference, and the world!
— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development