Bishop John Schol
New Jersey Episcopal Area
Philadelphia Episcopal Area
Bishop John R. Schol was elected to the episcopacy by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2004. He is the Resident Bishop of the Greater New Jersey Area, which includes the Greater New Jersey Conference in the Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church.
As of September 1, 2021, Bishop Schol also serves as the Interim Bishop for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference - Philadelphia Episcopal Area.
Bishop Schol was born and raised in a working-class family in Philadelphia. It was here that faith and leadership were nurtured and strong values of hard work, honoring diversity, and grace were formed.
He served congregations in Saugus, Mass., Philadelphia, Pa., and West Chester Pa. In each of his congregations, worship grew, mission in the community expanded and new disciples were made.
For 12 years, Bishop Schol served as the Executive Director of the Frankford Group Ministry in Philadelphia. This new and emerging cooperative ministry among four United Methodist Congregations went from one staff person to more than 50 staff positions. The organization led the community in developing better race relations and provided social services, community arts, and community economic development. During his ministry and after his leaving the United Methodist ministry in the Frankford community rehabilitated or built more than 200 housing units and served more than 20,000 people a year.
In the 1990’s he was the denomination’s urban executive serving at the General Board of Global Ministries. He developed and led two initiatives, Communities of Shalom and Holy Boldness. The Communities of Shalom initiative started more than 1,000 sites globally and trained more than 5,000 people in the church and community development. The Holy Boldness started an urban training and congregational development movement.
Bishop John Schol was consecrated as a bishop in 2004 after 25 years of experience as a pastor, community developer, and denominational executive. As a bishop, he first led the Baltimore-Washington Conference where he led a turnaround of the conference toward health and vitality as he supported the growth of 272 congregations that became Acts 2 churches, which are bearing fruit in the areas of church membership, professions of faith, connectional giving and mission involvement. In 2012 he was assigned to lead the United Methodists in Greater New Jersey. Bishop Schol has assisted church leaders in developing and implementing a strategic plan to create vital congregations. Already the conference has or is near achieving its 2018 goals. During his leadership, the conference created new resources for clergy and laity including coaching and cohort groups, and Team Vital, a comprehensive resource for congregations on the path to vitality. A Future With Hope nonprofit corporation was also started to respond to Superstorm Sandy and the United Methodists have repaired more than 273 homes using more than 12,000 volunteers from 48 states who donated 300,000 hours of volunteer service and raised more than $17 million for this five-year effort.
He has also led conferences and congregations in international mission building churches, clinics, parsonages, orphanages, and schools in Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
Bishop Schol received a bachelor’s degree from Moravian College and a master's and doctor's degree from Boston University. He has helped start six nonprofit organizations and has served on the boards of Sibley Hospital, American University (chaired the academic affairs committee), Wesley Theological Seminary, Jane Bancroft Foundation (founding president), The Board of Child Care, United Methodist Archives and History (chairperson), United Methodist Communications, Wesley Enhanced Living, United Methodist Communities, A Future With Hope, Drew University (chairs the School of Theology), Centenary College, The Pennington School, Moravian College, and the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools, Inc.
Bishop Schol is married to Beverly Schol. They have three grown children, Mark, Kristin, and Rebecca, and three grandchildren. His hobbies and interests include family, reading, running, photography, and travel.