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Bishop Dan Schwerin Assigned to Northern Illinois

Posted: November 5 2022 at 12:13 PM
Author: By Anne Marie Gerhardt, Dir. of Communications

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Bishop Dan Schwerin (left) participates in worship with the other two newly-elected, Bishop Lanette Plambeck and Bishop Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai, during the Consecration Service at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Nov. 5, 2022.

On the final day of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference (NCJ), the Committee on Episcopacy assigned Bishop Dan Schwerin to the Northern Illinois Conference, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Schwerin was elected to the episcopacy at the 2022 NCJ held Nov. 2-5 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Before his election, he served as the Assistant to the Bishop in the Wisconsin Conference. After the General Conference of 2019, Wisconsin Bishop Hee-Soo Jung asked him to collaborate with conference partners to increase racial justice and radical inclusion. He has also served as a District Superintendent and pastored in many contexts, including urban and rural churches.

After the consecration service, Bishop Schwerin greeted many members of the Northern Illinois Conference and expressed his gratitude for this assignment.

"I've been your neighbor for many, many years. I am so grateful to be assigned to the Northern Illinois Annual Conference," said Schwerin. "You have a history of justice-seeking ministry that humbles me and makes me grateful to be called to be assigned to you. God equips what God calls, and we are called together into this moment. This moment depends on all of us. I look forward to making relationships with you, learning from you, and shepherding with you."  Watch his video greeting.

Northern Illinois Conference delegate Rev. Brian Gilbert said he's known Bishop Schwerin for some time and is excited he will be the NIC's next Bishop.

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Retired Bishop Sharon Rader places the episcopal stole around Bishop Dan Schwerin's neck during the consecration service.

"Dan is a real gift, and he's someone who has a true pastoral heart for God and the church," said Gilbert. "We are so blessed to have him coming to us." 

Rev. Hwa-Young Chong, a clergy jurisdictional delegate and co-chair of the Annual Conference Shepherding Team, also expressed her excitement.

"I look forward to working with Bishop Dan Schwerin along with my co-chair Liz Gracie on our strategic goals," said Chong. "I feel hopeful for the future of the conference as we continue to collaborate with all our conference leaders."

Chair of the NIC delegation, Rev. Alka Lyall, who introduced a joint statement with the Wisconsin delegation to explore the possibility of sharing one Bishop for both conferences, said this assignment is a good match. "Because of the possibilities of partnering with our conference, Bishop Jung knows us, and Dan knows Wisconsin, said Lyall. "I think this will be a good partnership and a beginning of a new episcopal area."

In September, the extended cabinets of both Northern Illinois and Wisconsin conferences gathered in Sun Prairie, Wis., for a half-day retreat to meet one another, share ideas, and learn how they might become one episcopal area. Bishop Hopkins, who ironically sat with Schwerin during lunch at the meeting, says Northern Illinois is going to love this Bishop.

“We already know Dan after the cabinets got acquainted with one another less than two months ago,” said Hopkins. “As we got to know each other, we saw Dan's smile and sense of confidence as well as his spiritual depth. The relationship between Northern Illinois and Wisconsin is in God's hands. We can do some amazing things in the future. 

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Delegates and members of the Northern Illinois Conference greet their new bishop.

NIC Dir. of Congregational Development and Redevelopment Rev. Martin Lee acknowledged Schwerin's gifs of building up churches. "He has planted a new church start and transformed a multi-staff setting," said Lee. "We never knew when we met what was going to happen. He knows Wisconsin, so when the time comes for our annual conferences to possibly become one episcopal area, we will create some synergy and something we never dreamed of before. Thank God this is an amazing time.”

In her sermon at the consecration service, Bishop Sally Dyck charged the new bishops and the body to remember, first and foremost, their primary identity as a child of God. Everything else we have received, our certificates, ordinations, and consecrations, are only tools to build up the body of Christ. Don’t dare let it be your identity. 

“You were not elected to save the church,” she told the new bishops. “But what did Jesus do? He taught people to live, love, forgive, and share what had happened to them—how they had been healed and transformed through the power of God through him. And he built up his people. We get confused sometimes.” Dyck then recounted the story of St. Francis, who heard God say, “repair my church,” and went off to start putting rocks on top of one another. Then he realized what God was calling him to do was to bring new life to the church. 

Dyck concluded, “yes, you are called to help inspire and equip and bring new life into our beloved United Methodist Church!” 

Each bishop, upon their consecration, received a stole as a symbol of their servant ministry, a Bible, and a crosier as a symbol of their call to shepherd God’s people.

Bishop Dan Schwerin and his wife, Julie, live in Sun Prairie, Wis. He is a husband, father, grandfather, poet and graduate of Perkins School of Theology.

Here is the complete list of assignments for Jan. 1, 2023 to Aug. 31, 2024.

Dakotas-Minnesota Conferences: Bishop Lanette Plambeck
East Ohio Conference: Bishop Tracy Smith Malone
Illinois-Great Rivers Conference: Bishop Frank Beard
Indiana Conference: Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Iowa Conference: Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai
Michigan Conference: Bishop David Bard
Northern Illinois Conference: Bishop Dan Schwerin
West Ohio Conference: Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer
Wisconsin Conference: Bishop Hee-Soo Jung

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