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Among the retiring bishops honored during General Conference 2016 were Warner H. Brown Jr., Michael Watson, Young Jin Cho, Jane Middleton, Michael Coyner, Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, Lindsey Davis, Robert Hayes Jr. and Benjamin Boni.

20 bishops to be elected

Twenty new episcopal leaders will join the United Methodist Council of Bishops in the coming months.

Fifteen will be elected and consecrated as the five jurisdictional conferences in the United States meet in July. All active bishops will be assigned to the episcopal areas they will serve for the 2017-2020 quadrennium. Voting for bishops in the United States begins on Wednesday, July 13.

The seven central conferences in Africa, Europe and the Philippines will elect five bishops when they convene between August 2016 and May 2017.

General Conference 2016 recognized retiring United Methodist bishops on May 19. Bishops in the United States will retire on Aug. 31. Retirement dates for the others vary.

North Central

The North Central Jurisdiction will elect four bishops when it convenes in Peoria, Illinois. Delegates will also consider restructuring of their mission council. Retirees are:

  • Indiana Area Bishop Michael Coyner, elected in 1996, also served the Dakotas.
  • Ohio East Area Bishop John Hopkins, elected in 1996, also served Minnesota.
  • Illinois Area Bishop Jonathan Keaton, elected in 1996, also served Ohio East and Michigan.
  • Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey, elected in 2004, also served Dakotas.


Meeting in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Northeastern Jurisdiction will elect two bishops – although only one is retiring. Joining the 172 delegates elected by annual conferences will be 20 youth delegates who will sit with their conference delegations and have voice but not vote. Leaving the active episcopacy are:

  • Washington Area Bishop Marcus Matthews, elected in 2004, earlier served Philadelphia and New York West.
  • New York Area Bishop Jane Middleton, elected in 2004, served the Harrisburg Area and retired in 2012, called from retirement to serve New York.

South Central

The South Central Jurisdiction will elect three bishops when it convenes in Wichita, Kansas. Two bishops are retiring. The third election will fill the vacancy created in December 2015 when James Dorff resigned from the episcopacy and surrendered his credentials. He was assigned to the San Antonio Area. Retirees are:

  • Oklahoma Area Bishop Robert Hayes Jr., elected in 2004.
  • Houston Area Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, elected in 1996, also served Arkansas.


Five bishops are retiring in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, which will meet at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, under the theme "Unity in Christ." Retirees are:

  • Virginia Area Bishop Young Jin Cho, elected in 2012.
  • Louisville Area Bishop Lindsey Davis, elected in 1996, also served North Georgia.
  • Charlotte Area Bishop Larry Goodpaster, elected in 2000, also served Alabama-West Florida.
  • South Georgia Area Bishop James King, elected in 2008, also served Louisville.
  • North Georgia Area Bishop Michael Watson, elected in 2000, also served South Georgia.


Western Jurisidiction delegates will experience "permeable boundaries" when they convene in Scottsdale, Arizona, to elect a bishop. Delegates will not be seated by annual conferences but as "inclusive members of the jurisdiction," according to the conference website. Retiring is:

  • San Francisco Area Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr., elected in 2000, also served Denver.

Central Conferences

Five bishops will retire in the central conferences:

  • Liberia Area Bishop John Innis, elected in 2000, also served Côte d'Ivoire briefly, West Africa Central Conference.
  • Southern Congo Area Bishop Kainda Katembo, first elected in 1980, elected for life in 1984, also served Southern Zaire, Africa Central Conference.
  • North Katanga Area Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, elected in 1996, Africa Central Conference.
  • Germany Area Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, elected in 2005, Germany Central Conference.
  • Central Congo Area Bishop David Yemba, first elected in 2005, re-elected in 2008, Congo Central Conference.

Dates of the central conferences are: Africa, Aug. 11-14; Congo, second half of August; Northern Europe and Eurasia, Oct. 19-23; Philippines, Nov. 15-19; West Africa, Dec. 10-14; Central and Southern Europe, March 11-14, 2017; and Germany, May 15-19, 2017.