Monday, July 25, 2016


At the United Methodist Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference in Lancaster, Pa., July 11-15, our demonstration of hospitality exceeded my wildest expectations!

The Eastern PA Conference, along with some support from the Pen Del Conference, hosted this event, and I am grateful for the many women and men who worked tirelessly, around the clock it seemed, to greet and serve our many guests. People commented to me again and again about how friendly the staff was and how well things were organized. Many thanks to all!

This historic conference gave me many reasons to be grateful. I am grateful that I have been reappointed as the Bishop of the Philadelphia Area for another four years. This has been an answer to prayer, as I feel that my work is not yet finished.

With the strong possibility of episcopal area realignment in 2020, I will be in a unique position to help shepherd that process. I appreciate the many letters, e-mail messages and phone calls saying "Congratulations" and “Welcome back.” Truly it is a blessing to serve in this wonderful area at such a crucial time as this.

I am grateful that we have two new bishops--two new sister-bishops--both sister-bishops of color, joining the NEJ College of Bishops. What a joy to watch Bishop LaTrelle Easterling and Bishop Cynthia Moore Koi-Koi be elected and to hear their words of hope and excitement as they greeted the conference.

God is up to something with these vibrant new leaders. Bishop Easterling will serve in the Washington Area and Bishop Moore Koi-Koi has been assigned to the Pittsburgh Area.

I am grateful for the “Call to Action" to the jurisdiction and the College of Bishops issued by the NEJ BUMP, BMCR, and BLF organizations. This bold, timely statement calls the church to accountability for affirming the value of black lives and all lives of color.

The statement sets into motion a number of agendas for dialogue, training, relationship-building and programming that each conference will be responsible for in the quadrennium ahead. I look forward to the work we can do together to dismantle racism and build bonds of peace.

We have much good work to do in these next four years, empowered by our strong faith and our determination to do what is right. May these be blessed years of prayer, study, spiritual growth and ample commitment to serving others, sharing our faith and growing churches to the glory of God.

And may the fruit of all that we do be revealed in bold new disciples who are engaged in world-changing mission for Christ. To behold that fruit would make me eternally grateful.

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