17 New UMC bishops get warm welcome at COB meeting

COB Zoom meeting screengrab

Bishop Ruby-Nell M. Estrella, the first female UMC bishop in the Philippines Central Conference, addresses the COB Zoom meeting on Dec. 1, 2022.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church (UMC) formally welcomed 17 newly elected episcopal leaders of the worldwide denomination during a special meeting on December 1, 2022.

COB President Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, who is also the resident bishop of the New York Area, told the new bishops that their colleagues are available to help them navigate their ways into this new ministry and all the bishops are in it together.

“We have been working very deliberately in this Council to seek alignment of purpose and function together, in trying to provide support and encouragement for one another because these are indeed very challenging days and the gifts that all of us represent needed,” said Bishop Bickerton, adding that the Council was looking forward to the gifts that the 17 new bishops will bring to the Council.

The new bishops in order of their election are:
  1. Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai – North Central Jurisdiction - USA
  2. Bishop Thomas Martin Berlin – Southeastern Jurisdiction - USA
  3. Bishop Delores “Dee” Williamston – South Central Jurisdiction - USA
  4. Bishop Laura Merrill - South Central Jurisdiction - USA
  5. Bishop David Wilson South Central Jurisdiction - USA
  6. Bishop Héctor A. Burgos-Núñez - Northeastern Jurisdiction - USA
  7. Bishop Lanette Plambeck - North Central Jurisdiction - USA
  8. Bishop Connie Mitchell Shelton - Southeastern Jurisdiction - USA
  9. Bishop Dan Schwerin - North Central  Jurisdiction - USA
  10. Bishop Robin Dease - Southeastern Jurisdiction -USA
  11. Bishop Carlo A. Rapanut - Western Jurisdiction -USA
  12. Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth - Western Jurisdiction -USA
  13. Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank - Western Jurisdiction -USA
  14. Bishop Stefan Zürcher - Central and Southern Europe Central Conference
  15. Bishop  Rodel M. Acdal - Philippines Central Conference
  16. Bishop Ruby-Nell M. Estrella - Philippines Central Conference
  17. Bishop Israel M. Painit - Philippines Central Conference
 The new bishops got to introduce themselves and share a bit about their lives, their ministries and their call to the episcopacy.

The bishops have received assignments on where they will be serving effective January 1, 2023. Here is the full list of assignments for UMC bishops including current bishops:

North Central Jurisdiction (The North Central Jurisdiction includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.)
  • Dakotas-Minnesota: Bishop Lanette Plambeck
  • Ohio East: Bishop Tracy S. Malone
  • Illinois Great Rivers: Bishop Frank J. Beard
  • Indiana: Bishop Julius C. Trimble
  • Iowa: Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai
  • Michigan: Bishop David A. Bard
  • Northern Illinois: Bishop Dan Schwerin
  • Ohio West: Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
  • Wisconsin: Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
 Northeastern Jurisdiction (The Northeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.)
  • *Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware: Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
  • *Eastern Pennsylvania and Greater New Jersey: Bishop John R. Schol
  • New York: Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton
  • *Susquehanna: Bishops Sandra L. Steiner Ball and Cynthia Moore-Koikoi
  • Upper New York: Bishop Héctor A. Burgos-Núñez
  • West Virginia: Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball
  • Western Pennsylvania: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi
  • *New England: Bishop Peggy Johnson.
*Bishops Easterling will continue to provide coverage for Peninsula Delaware; Bishop Schol for Eastern Pennsylvania; Bishops Steiner Ball and Moore-Koikoi for Susquehanna. Bishop Johnson has been approved to provide coverage for New England.
South Central Jurisdiction (The South Central Jurisdiction includes the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas)
  • Arkansas: Bishop Laura Merrill
  • North Texas and Central Texas: Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.
  • Great Plains: Bishop David Wilson
  • Louisiana: Bishop Delores “Dee” Williamston
  • Missouri: Bishop Robert “Bob” Farr
  • Oklahoma, Oklahoma Indian Missionary: Bishop James G. “Jimmy” Nunn
  • Rio Texas: Bishop Robert C. Schnase
  • Texas: Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
*Bishop Schnase will provide coverage for the New Mexico Conference and Bishop Nunn for the Northwest Texas Conference, as they have been doing.
Southeastern Jurisdiction (The Southeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.)
  • *Alabama-West Florida and South Georgia: Bishop David Graves
  • Florida: Bishop Thomas M. "Tom" Berlin
  • *Holston and North Alabama: Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
  • *Kentucky and Central Appalachian Missionary: Bishop Leonard Fairley
  • Mississippi: Bishop Sharma Lewis
  • North Carolina: Bishop Connie Mitchell Shelton
  • North Georgia: Bishop Robin Dease
  • South Carolina: Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
  • Tennessee-Western Kentucky: Bishop William “Bill” McAlilly
  • Virginia: Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson
  • Western North Carolina: Bishop Kenneth Carter
*Bishop Graves will provide coverage for South Georgia; Bishop Wallace-Padgett for Holston; Bishop Fairley for Central Appalachian Missionary.
Western Jurisdiction (The Western Jurisdiction includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.)  Central and Southern Europe Central Conference (has one episcopal area, seven annual conferences in 13 countries: Albania, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia.)
  • Bishop Stefan Zürcher
Germany Central Conference (has one episcopal area, three annual conferences in one country: Germany)
  • Bishop Harald Rückert
Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference (has two episcopal areas, 10 annual conferences in 15 countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moldova,  Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan)
  • Eurasia Area: Bishop Eduard Khegay
  • Nordic and Baltic Area: Bishop Christian Alsted
 Philippines Central Conference (has three espiscopal areas and  24 annual conferences in one country: Philippines)
  • Baquio Area: Bishop Rodel M. Acdal
  • Davao Area: Bishop Israel M. Painit
  • Manila Area:  Bishop Ruby-Nell M. Estrella
 Africa Central Conference (has five episcopal areas, 10 annual conferences in 12 countries: Angola, Namibia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe)
  • East Angola Area: Bishop Jose Quipungo
  • West Angola Area: Bishop Gaspar Domingos
  • East Africa Area: Bishop Daniel Wandabula
  • Mozambique Area: Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala
  • Zimbabwe Area: Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa
 Congo Central Conference (has four episcopal areas, 14 annual conferences, in three countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia)
  • Central Congo Area:  Bishop Daniel Lunge
  • East Congo Area: Bishop Gabriel Unda
  • North Katanga Area: Bishop Mande Muyombo
  • South Congo Area: Bishop Kasap Owan
  West Africa Central Conference (has four episcopal areas, six annual conferences in six countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Senegal, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone)
  • Côte d'Ivoire Area: Bishop Benjamin Boni
  • Liberia Area: Bishop Samuel Quire
  • Nigeria Area: Bishop John Wesley Yohanna
  • Sierra Leone Area: Bishop Warner Brown (interim)

Media Contact:

Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga

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