Marcus Matthews

Bishop Marcus Matthews


United States

Northeastern Jurisdiction


Bishop Marcus Matthews is a retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 2004-2016.

Bishop Matthews is a former Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church (UMC), a position he held from September 1, 2016 to August 2020.  Previously, Bishop Matthews served as the Resident Bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference from 2012-2016.


Early life

Bishop Matthews was born in Florence, South Carolina. His home church, Cumberland UMC, had a pivotal influence on his life. At Cumberland, he was one of the community developers in the first wave of the Black Community Developers program of the General Board of Global Ministries. In 1970, he was selected by the Ford Foundation's Leadership Development Program to conduct a year-long study of religious institutions such as the Delta Project in Mississippi; the General Commission on Religion and Race, and to do research on a project with juveniles in Syracuse, NY.

Education and Ordination

Bishop Matthews holds a bachelor's degree from South Carolina State College (1968); a master of divinity (MDiv) from Wesley Theological Seminary (1974); and a doctor of ministry (DMin) from New York Theological Seminary (1981).  He was ordained as a deacon by Bishop Paul Hardin, Jr. and he was ordained as an elder by Bishop James K. Matthew in the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

Ordained Ministry

At the beginning of his pastoral ministry, Matthews served as a student intern at Douglas Memorial UMC in Washington, D.C., for a year. He became an assistant pastor at Asbury UMC in Washington, where he continued as an associate for two years after his graduation from Wesley. Upon graduation, he served as pastor of Jones Memorial UMC in Washington, DC, (1976-1982) where he oversaw the building of a new sanctuary and established a community development program. He was pastor of Epworth Chapel UMC in Baltimore, from 1982 to 1986, when, during his pastorate, Epworth received 272 new members.


In 1986, Rev. Matthews was appointed District Superintendent of the Baltimore East District and in 1991 was appointed Conference Council Director, a position he held until being appointed Washington West District Superintendent in 1999. He was serving in that position when he was elected.


Rev. Matthews was elected as a bishop of The United Methodist Church on July 14, 2004, by the Northeastern Jurisdiction on the first ballot.  He was assigned to serve the Philadelphia Episcopal Area (Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Peninsula-Delaware Conference). In 2008, he was assigned to the New York West Area (Western New York Conference and North Central Conference). In 2010, he became the resident bishop of the Upper New York Area (and a new conference uniting four former conferences; Western New York, North Central, Troy, and Wyoming).  In 2012, he was assigned to the Washington Area (Baltimore-Washington Conference), where he served until his retirement in 2016.

During his ministry, Bishop Matthews served on the General Commission on Religion and Race, the General Board of Global Ministries, Connection Process Team, the General Council on Ministries, Africa University Development Committee, World Methodist Council Executive Committee, and the Board of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Multi-Ethnic Center for Ministry. In 2004 he was elected Co-Chair of the Endorsing Committee of The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the UMC. He served as president of the GBHEM from 2008-2012. He was elected in 2005 to the Board of Directors of Africa University and he is currently the chair of the Board.


Bishop Matthews is married to Barbara Walker Matthews and they have two children, Jaime S. Matthews and Marci Matthews, and five grandchildren. His interests include movies, reading, jogging, and playing with his grandchildren.