During the November meeting of the Council of Bishops in Lake Junaluska, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey was elected President of the Council of Bishops.
Bishop Harvey currently serves as President-designate of the Council and will serve in that role until May when she will become the new President.
"I want to thank you for entrusting this important work to me and, frankly, to this great team that you have assembled here," Bishop Harvey said. "I want to commit myself to lead at this time with all my heart and soul, recognizing the complexity of our time and place in history. I'm especially relying on the Spirit's leading, on the Spirit's nudging and urging at this time. I read a quote from Saint Ignatius the other day from a good friend who shared a book with me. 'Act as if everything depended on you and trust as if everything depended on God.'"
Bishop Harvey continued by quoting Meister Eckhart, a Christian mystic, who once said, 'If thank you is the only prayer you ever pray, it is enough.'
"Thank you has been my prayer and continues to be my prayer as we go into the next season of our life and work," she said, "Thank you to God and thank you to you for your faithfulness, for your patience, your commitment, your love for the church, your love for one another. Thank you."
The President of the Council of Bishops presides over its meetings but has no additional authority over the other members of the Council. Administrative work is handled by the secretary of the Council.
In an effort to provide stronger leadership across the denomination, United Methodist bishops recently voted to lengthen the term of their president and establish a permanent, staffed office. The president of the Council serves two years instead of the traditional one-year term.
Also elected were:
- President-Designate: Bishop Thomas Bickerton
- Secretary: Bishop Tracy Malone
- Executive Secretary: Bishop Bruce Ough
- Ecumenical Officer: Bishop Sally Dyck
- Past President: Bishop Ken Carter
The current officer holders are Bishop Carter, president; Bishop Harvey, president-designate; and Bishop Mande Muyombo as secretary. The new officers will take office at the end of the May 2020 General Conference.
Outgoing Secretary Bishop Mande Muyombo was elected chair of the Connectional Table Chair.
The executive secretary serves as the operations officer of the Council and works closely with the Secretary to monitor actions of the Council and Executive Committee. The ecumenical officer is responsible for relationships with other Churches and/or ecclesial bodies. Both serve four-year terms and take office on September 1, 2020. Bishop Marcus Matthews and Bishop B. Michael Watson are the current holders of the positions.
To read more about the election and to see the full list of those elected, please visit the United Methodist Council of Bishops web site