Last Sunday after worship someone said to me, “You’re not going to be elected bishop at General Conference, are you?” In case anyone else is wondering about this, I want to put this idea to rest right now. My answer to this question is a swift and emphatic, “No, I’m not!” In fact, not only am I not a candidate for bishop, the election of bishops doesn’t even take place at General Conference anyway. (It happens in July at Jurisdictional Conference.)
I do see why this question and concern has arisen, though, and I want to take a moment to clarify this somewhat confusing situation a little further. Sometimes the first-elected clergy delegate from the annual conference does choose to seek the endorsement of the delegation as a candidate for the episcopacy (that is, to become a bishop in the United Methodist Church). Before I was elected as leader of our delegation (as first-elected clergy), I had already made the decision that I would not also be a candidate for bishop. (You can learn more about General Conference and Jurisdictional Conferences here.)
Another point of possible confusion is that I have been nominated by the Council of Bishops as a candidate for election to the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church, and that election does take place at General Conference. I was elected as first clergy alternate to the Judicial Council in 2012, and have had several meaningful opportunities to serve as alternate, so I do hope to be elected as a full member at this General Conference. The Judicial Council is made up of elected, unpaid volunteers who give some of their time to serve the church in this important way. (You can learn more about the Judicial Council here.)
Finally, to give you a quick update and some important links as General Conference quickly approaches (it begins on May 10 and concludes on May 20), I encourage you to stay informed and supportive during the coming weeks and during the conference itself. Here’s how:
READ and learn more about the issues coming up at General Conference here.
CONNECT and participate in ongoing discussions through:
SEE the members of the delegation here.
BOOKMARK and follow our Central Texas Conference Delegation’s News Website.
SPEAK UP through our Central Texas Conference email address.
PRAY for our delegation and denomination through a special General Conference Prayer Ministry.
Please keep the Central Texas Conference delegation and all the General Conference in your prayers.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,