Crowded field vies for four College of Bishop vacancies
(Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was first published to include a 17th candidate)
By Paul Black
PEORIA – A field of 17 candidates will be offered for election to jurisdictional delegates when the North Central Jurisdiction gathers July 13-16 at the Peoria Civic Center.
Profiles on all of the candidates can be viewed at the North Central Jurisdiction’s website by visiting: http://www.ncjumc.org/ncj-2016-3/episcopal-nominations/. There each candidate has completed paperwork which will give delegates a sense of their leadership and vision for the church.
In between balloting, a candidate forum sponsored by the Black Methodists for Church Renewal will be held at 7 p.m. July 12 before the first ballot is cast at 2:30 p.m. July 13. All of the worship and plenary sessions will be at the Peoria Civic Center. Live streaming of plenaries and worship by visiting: www.igrc.org/ncj2016live
In order to be elected, a candidate must receive 60 percent of the valid ballots cast in any round of voting. Voting continues until there are four elections to fill the vacancies left by retirement.
A Service of Consecration of the four new bishops will be held on Saturday, July 16 at 10 a.m., at Peoria First UMC.
Here’s a quick brief bio on each of the announced candidates:
- Rev. Armando C. Arellano is pastor of East Shore United Methodist Church, Euclid, Ohio, in the East Ohio Conference. Arellano served in the Philippines Annual Conference prior to his transfer to East Ohio in 2000.
- Rev. Dr. David Bard is the lead pastor of First UMC in Duluth, Minn. Bard was the last candidate remaining in 2008 when Bishop Julius Trimble was elected. He is endorsed by the Minnesota Annual Conference and the Minnesota delegation.
- Rev. Dr. Frank Beard is pastor of the Castleton UMC in Indianapolis, Ind. He is the endorsed candidate of the Indiana Annual Conference.
- Rev. Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai is district superintendent of the East Lansing District, West Michigan Conference. She is one of two candidates endorsed by West Michigan Conference and has the endorsement of several groups within the conference: West Michigan Chapter Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA); United Methodist Black Clergy of Michigan; NCJ Committee on Native American Ministries; Michigan Area Black Methodists for Church Renewal; The Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Ministers of the Detroit Annual Conference; Black Clergy Women of The United Methodist Church; and the Training & Equipping African-Americans for Ministry (T.E.A.M.) of the Detroit Annual Conference
- Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue is superintendent of the Detroit Renaissance District of the Detroit Conference. A native Liberian, Boayue has the endorsement of the Detroit Annual Conference as well as several other caucus groups: United Methodist Black Clergy of Michigan; Training and Equipping African-Americans for Ministry (TEAM) of Michigan; and the Michigan Area Black Methodists for Church Renewal.
- Rev. Susan Brown is pastor of the Canfield UMC in the East Ohio Conference and is the endorsed candidate for the East Ohio Conference Clergywomen.
- Rev. Dr. Jerome DeVine is Director of Connectional Ministries for the Detroit Conference. He has been endorsed by: United Methodist Black Clergy of Michigan; Detroit Conference Committee on Asian American Ministries; Native American Course of Study Advisory Board; NCJ Committee on Native American Ministries; T.E.A.M. [Training and Equipping African-Americans for Ministry], Detroit Annual Conference; and Korean Caucus of Michigan
- Rev. Dr. Lillian Gallo Seagren, conference superintendent of the Southeast District of the Iowa Conference, is the endorsed candidate of the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists and one of two candidates endorsed by the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference.
- Rev. Dr. Gary George currently serves as Assistant to the Bishop in the East Ohio Conference, is the endorsed candidate of the East Ohio Annual Conference
- Rev Laurie Haller, pastor of First UMC in Birmingham, Mich., in the Detroit Conference, was also a 2008 candidate. She is one of two candidates endorsed by the West Michigan Annual Conference; the West Michigan Chapter Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA); Justice for Our Neighbors, West Michigan Conference; The Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members, Detroit Annual Conference; United Methodist Michigan Area Hispanic/Latino Ministries; and Detroit Conference Chapter of the Methodist Federation of Social Action.
- Rev. Dr. Tracy Smith Malone serves currently as the Chicago Southern District Superintendent in the Northern Illinois Conference. She has been endorsed by the Northern Illinois Annual Conference; Chicago Black Methodists for Church Renewal; National Black Clergy Women of The UMC; Fellowship of Asian Americans of Northern Illinois Conference; Gammon Theological Seminary National Alumni Association; Black United Methodist Pastors (BUMP) of Northern Illinois Conference; and United Methodist Women (UMW) of Northern Illinois Conference.
- Rev. David W. Meredith is pastor of Clifton UMC and Director of Urban Ministry for the Ohio River Valley District of the West Ohio Conference. Meredith made national headlines just prior to General Conference when he married his same-sex partner and announced his candidacy for the episcopacy.
- Rev. Dr. Chris Ritter is pastor of Geneseo First UMC, Spoon River District, Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
- Rev. Dr. Samuel J. Royappa is the Director of Connectional Ministries for the Wisconsin Annual Conference. He has been endorsed by several caucus groups within Wisconsin: National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM); Asian Caucus of Wisconsin Annual Conference; Wisconsin Black Methodists for Church Renewal; Wisconsin Ethnic Local Church Committee; Executive Team of the Wisconsin Conference UMW; and Wisconsin Hispanic/Latino Caucus Affirmation
- Rev. Dr. Barrie Tritle is pastor of First UMC in Iowa City, Iowa Conference. He is one of two candidates to have received the endorsement of the Iowa Annual Conference as well as the endorsement of the Iowa Korean Caucus.
- Rev. Sylvester Weatherall, Spoon River District Superintendent, is the endorsed candidate of both the Illinois Great Rivers Conference delegation and the endorsed candidate of the 2016 Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.
- Rev. Zaki Labib Zaki, currently Chicago Northwestern District Superintendent in the Northern Illinois Conference.