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Bishop Schwerin ready to start in the new year

Posted: December 3 2022 at 06:38 PM

Rev. Dan Schwerin reacts as his name his announced as the third elected bishop at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Fort Wayne, Ind. Photo by Lisa Wink.

As his name was read, Rev. Dan Schwerin humbly bowed his head and placed his hand over his heart, almost taken aback by the announcement he was elected bishop on the sixth and final ballot at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Nov. 3.  

“Those first moments after the election were not my most gathered moments,” Schwerin admitted. “Not mindful of the crowd, I just prayed, ‘thank you,’ giving thanks to my maker and guide.”

Schwerin hadn’t prepared a speech since he never thought he would be elected. But as he addressed the room of delegates and visitors in the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne, Ind., he proclaimed his joy, gratefulness, and hope for the call received at baptism. 

"I am so thankful for my baptism. Because in every baptism is the power and presence of Jesus Christ. In every baptism is a calling," said Schwerin. “Part of the baptismal call is a call forward to step out. In that stepping forward, we discover our utter reliance on Jesus Christ. By faith in that discovery, we discover the newness of God."

For 35 years, Schwerin (rhymes with tangerine) has served in many pastoral ministry contexts, including urban and rural churches, a new church plant, and a multi-staff downtown setting that became a reconciling congregation. He also launched a beloved community of non-profits to benefit persons with disabilities and children.
In the Wisconsin Conference, he most recently served as the Assistant to the Bishop and was a district superintendent. Bishop Hee-Soo Jung selected Schwerin to lead a collaborative effort with conference partners to increase racial justice and radical inclusion.

 “People who know my ministry would tell you I'm grounded. I start the day in the scriptures and try to stay grounded throughout the day,” said Schwerin. “People who know my ministry would also tell you I've been innovative. I've started new churches. I've helped churches reconnect with their neighborhoods in ways that have found transformation.” 

He was elected in 2019 as a delegate to General Conference and the North Central Jurisdiction and served on the General Conference Task Force on Funding Patterns in The United Methodist Church. Schwerin served as a member of the North Central Jurisdiction's Episcopacy Committee.
 In 1991, Schwerin was ordained as an elder in the Wisconsin Conference. He graduated from Perkins School of Theology in Texas and did post-graduate Bowen family systems theory work there. 

Schwerin is a published poet and writes every morning. In 2019, he received the Haiku Foundation Touchstone Award for Distinguished Books. 

At the consecration service, Bishop Schwerin learned he would be assigned to the Northern Illinois Conference effective Jan. 1, 2023, for which he expressed his gratitude.


Retired Bishop Sharon Rader places the stole on newly consecrated Bishop Dan Schwerin.

“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. I look forward to making relationships with you, learning from you, and shepherding with you."  

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. 

"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."

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.”

Bishop Schwerin said he loves the local church, clergy colleagues, and the leadership of laity and is looking forward to working together. 

“We need each other to make Christ known. We cannot do that alone,” said Schwerin. “I'm going to need your prayers. I'm going to need your wisdom. But together, we're going to make Christ known in our steps.


Delegates, clergy, laity and staff gather with Bishop Schwerin at a reception after the consecration service on Nov. 5. Photo by Anne Marie Gerhardt

He also said this is a hopeful time and these are days full of opportunities to get clear about who we are.

“We are a Wesleyan, biblical, grace-centered, mission-focused, justice-seeking, global body that makes known Jesus Christ as we make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world,” Schwerin said. “I look forward to learning about your ministry and hearing about how you are transforming the communities God has given you to love. So I look forward to this next season to get to know you and for us to be in ministry together."

Bishop Dan Schwerin grew up in Wisconsin and comes from a family of farmers and machinists. He is a dad, grandpa, and husband to his wife, Julie. He proclaims Jesus is the "gold in his life."

The NIC Episcopacy Committee is working on plans for an installation service for Bishop Schwerin in early 2023.

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