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NCJ Recommends Electing One Bishop

Posted: January 28 2020 at 01:24 PM
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Task Force created to study episcopal leadership

In a meeting Jan. 20-22 in Chicago, the North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) Committee on the Episcopacy and the NCJ College of Bishops proposed to elect only one bishop instead of two during the NCJ Conference, July 15-18 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The two groups have agreed to form a task force to make recommendations on episcopal leadership for the jurisdiction over the next four years.

In late August 2019, the General Council on Finance and Administration informed Bishop David Bard, the Michigan Area Bishop and President of the NCJ, that the jurisdiction had fallen below the membership threshold to sustain nine episcopal areas and that a reduction was possible. That decision is subject to a final determination by the General Conference in May 2020.

If General Conference votes in favor of a reduction, the Jurisdictional Committee on the Episcopacy (in this case, the NCJ) determines and enacts the adjusted configuration of episcopal areas.

The following decisions came from the NCJ College of Bishops and the NCJ Committee on the Episcopacy meeting in Chicago:

  • The NCJ Committee on the Episcopacy will recommend to the Jurisdictional Conference the election of one bishop in 2020, predicated on the retirements of Bishop Sally Dyck and Bishop Bruce Ough.
  • The NCJ Committee on the Episcopacy and the NCJ College of Bishops will form a task force on episcopal leadership, to include representatives from the NCJ Mission Council. The task force will make recommendations on episcopal leadership for the jurisdiction, including (1) a recommendation for an interim period, 2020-2024, that will ensure episcopal leadership for each episcopal area during the quadrennium; and (2) recommendation of ideas to be developed for episcopal leadership in the jurisdiction beyond 2024.


Read the full press release here.

What does this mean for the NIC?

"Once again we find ourselves in a time of change and uncertainty," said Bishop Sally Dyck. "If there's an election of just one bishop at Jurisdictional Conference in July, two annual conferences for the next quadrennium would at least be yoked; this is not a merger but like a two-point charge. We do not yet know which conferences that will be, but I think we need to begin to think about the possibilities in the case Northern Illinois is affected. We will know more after the task force makes its report. Let us continue to pray for our church."

Please see the FAQ sheet for some more information and Bishop Dyck will have a brief explanation at the conversations about General Conference, which begin this coming Sunday.

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