John Hopkins

Bishop John Hopkins


United States

North Central Jurisdiction


Bishop John L. Hopkins is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 1996-2016. 

He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, and his childhood was spent in Montgomery, Houston, Atlanta, and Ft. Wayne. After marrying Elaine M. Smithson in 1964, he attended Indiana University, receiving a B.A. with Honors in Psychology. He graduated from Yale Divinity School and was selected for the two-year Wheelock Residency at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College where he practiced hospital, campus, and parish ministry. During this residency, he served as the Protestant Chaplain at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was ordained deacon and elder in the North Indiana Conference.

After serving a two-point charge in LaPorte, Indiana, Hopkins was appointed in 1976 as Wesley Foundation Director at Ball State University. In 1983 he became Director of the Council on Ministries in North Indiana and, in 1989 was appointed in South Indiana as Senior Pastor at The Methodist Temple in Evansville. He was elected to the episcopacy in July 1996 at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference and assigned to the Minnesota Area for eight years. In September 2004, Bishop Hopkins was assigned to the Ohio East Area until retirement in 2016.

Bishop Hopkins was appointed by the Council of Bishops from 2004-2012 to serve as the first Chair of the Connectional Table which provides a forum for the understanding and implementation of the vision, mission, and ministries of the global church. During this time, Hopkins helped lead The Call to Action effort focused on increasing vital congregations around the world. 

He has served on the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops, the United Methodist Publishing House Board, the General Board of Church and Society, the General Council on Ministries, and the Committee for the Advance for Christ and His Church.

His episcopal responsibilities have included serving on the trustees of Hamline University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Mt. Union University, Baldwin Wallace University, and The Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Bishop Hopkins was instrumental in the formation of Operation Classroom in Sierra Leone and Liberia. His mission travel has included Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Korea, China, Japan, Mexico, Bulgaria, Germany, Philippines, and Vietnam. Currently, he serves on the board of Educational Opportunities, Inc. that provides scholarships for clergy to study in the Holy Land.

Bishop Hopkins and Elaine live in Indianapolis.  They have three sons and seven grandchildren.  Bishop Hopkins enjoys exercise, technology, kite flying, music, and guitar jams