Bishop Devadhar Funeral set for July 27, 2023

 Cincinnati, OH – A service to celebrate the life of Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio at Hyde Park Community Church, 1345 Grace Avenue on Thursday, July 27, 2023, at 11 am. There will be a viewing immediately preceding the service at 9 a.m. at the church. The family will receive condolences and greet guests immediately following the service.

The service will be live streamed to accommodate family and friends who are unable to attend.

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, age 72, died unexpectedly in Cincinnati, OH, on July 18, 2023, after nearly 20 years of faithful leadership as a bishop in The United Methodist Church. He retired on January 1, 2023.
Born on April 6, 1951, in Mulki, India, to Egbert Plato and Rosebel (Jivothama) Fernandez, Suda held a B.Com. degree from Vijaya College, University of Mysore, Mulki, India; a B.D., degree from United Theological College, Bangalore, India; an M.Th. degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University; and a M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Drew University. His doctoral dissertation was entitled: Stanley J. Samartha’s Contribution to the Interfaith Dialogue.
Suda was born into a clergy family and became a follower of God at a young age. His pastoral journey began as a Deacon at the Church of South India, in Mercara, Coorg, India. After coming to the United States, he served as pastor of the Moira, Brushton, and North Bangor United Methodist churches, and Canton United Methodist Church in the Upper New York Conference. 
Bishop Violet Fisher appointed Suda to the Cabinet of the then Central New York Conference, where he served as District Superintendent of the Ontario District from 1996-2004 and was named Dean of the Cabinet in 2000.
He was elected to the episcopacy in 2004. He served The Greater New Jersey Conference from 2004-2012, and The New England Conference from 2012-2022. Suda made history as the denomination’s first Indian-American bishop.
Embodying the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church, Suda served as chair of numerous denominational committees including the Leadership Team on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, Asian American Language Ministries, Northeastern Jurisdiction Board of Ordained Ministry, and the Moravian Dialogue.  He also served on the Board of Trustees at Drew Theological School and Boston University School of Theology.
Suda had many passions, the first of which was his beloved family.  He is survived by his constant ministry partner and wife of 46 years, Prema (Samartha) Devadhar; their daughter and son-in-law, Trina and Gage Hemmelgarn; and three granddaughters, Nyla, Laili and Miana. Suda immensely enjoyed living near his family and cherished the time spent with his granddaughters, cheering them on from the sidelines as he attended their athletic meets, no matter the distance.

He was also passionate about deepening the spiritualty of all people, but especially that of youth and young adults. He led numerous spiritual pilgrimages to Taizé, France, the Holy Land, Korea and through The Mission of Peace. These pilgrimages brought many young people to deeper and more intentional service in the church.

He exemplified servant leadership through his unyielding commitment to radical inclusiveness and his advocacy for justice. Suda’s pastoral heart, deep spirituality and consistent prayer life was transformational. On multiple occasions he prophetically proclaimed, "I envision a Church of the Pentecost in which the Holy Spirit is igniting, gifting and empowering God's children of all ages, backgrounds, colors and personalities to glorify their Creator as passionate witnesses for Jesus Christ. Such a church does not merely serve the poor, the left out, the different, but welcomes them warmly into its hearts, homes, and worship." 

 Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, will be remembered as a humble, gentle, kind, compassionate, talented, devoted, loving “Follower of God.”

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The United Theological College of Bangalore, India, or The Pastors Respite Fund of the New England Conference.

Contributions to The United Theological Fund of Bangalore, India, may be made to Grace Trinity United Church of Christ with “United Theological College” in the memo line and mailed to:
Grace-Trinity United Church of Christ
5200 Oxford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19124
You can also give online at

Contributions to the Pastors Respite Fund of New England may be mailed to:
The United Methodist Foundation of New England
42 Route 111, Suite 200,
Derry, NH 03038
You may also donate online at

Media Contact:

Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga

Director of Communications - Council of Bishops

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