NEJ Bishops Announce Retirements, Coverage



The Bishops of the Northeastern Jurisdiction have announced the voluntary retirements of two bishops and plans for coverage of their episcopal areas for the 16 months from the Sept.1, 2021 effective date through the end of 2022.  Bishops Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Area and Jeremiah Park of the Harrisburg Area have been granted voluntary retirement and will move to new roles starting Sept. 1 under paragraph 408.2 (b) of The Book of Discipline. 

Pittsburgh Area Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, leader of the Western PA Conference, and West Virginia Area Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball will share coverage of the Susquehanna Conference, where Bishop Park provides leadership. The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference portion of Bishop Johnson's Episcopal Area will be covered by Bishop John Schol of the Greater New Jersey Area.  The Penisula-Delaware Conference portion of the Philadelphia Area will be covered by Bishop Latrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. 

The coverage assignments are temporary. The next in-person Jurisdictional Conference, which is expected to be in October of 2022, will set the episcopal areas and assignments of bishops for the next quadrennium. 

The complete text of the letter from the NEJ Bishops to United Methodist leaders in the Jurisdiction is below.

March 29, 2021

Grace and Peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, 
We thank God for you and commend the clergy and congregational leaders for your leadership. These have been difficult and isolating times for many and yet you are leading our most vital ministry, congregations, and community ministries with conviction and determination. You have demonstrated the gifts of courage, leadership, innovation, and grace. Thank you. 
Today, we announce the coverage of Episcopal Areas in the Northeastern Jurisdiction effective September 1, 2021. 
The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges in the life of the church. One area of challenge has been our ability to conference together in the General and Jurisdictional Conferences. General Conference sets the policies for the church, elects new general agency leadership, and sets the global direction and budget for the church. The Jurisdictional Conference elects new bishops and assigns bishops to episcopal areas. 
Due to the 2020 General Conference being postponed a second time, it has meant the continual postponement of the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Two of the Northeastern Jurisdiction bishops, Bishops Peggy Johnson and Jeremiah Park, have requested and been granted voluntarily retirement starting September 1, 2021, under paragraph 408.2 (b) of The Book of Discipline. 
Bishop Johnson will move to Virginia in August of 2021 to employ her gifts and experience to serve in ministry with congregations and provide consultation with Deaf and disability ministry in the NEJ and across the connection. 
Bishop Park will move to New Jersey in August of 2021 to employ his gifts and experience to serve in ministry as the Presiding Bishop with both the Northeastern Jurisdiction Korean Mission and the United Methodist Mission in Mongolia. 
The 2020 postponed General Conference will gather in person August 29 through September 6, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minn., followed by U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences to be held in October 2022 for the election and assignment of bishops. 
Because two bishops will retire this year, effective September 1, 2021, The Book of Discipline authorizes the College of Bishops to provide coverage of open episcopal areas until new bishops are elected and assigned by the Jurisdictional Conference. This coverage will be for 16 months from September 1, 2021, through December 31, 2022. 
The College of Bishops after consulting with the Northeastern Jurisdiction Episcopacy Committee and individual bishops, and after prayer and meeting several times about coverage during this interim period, announces the following bishops will provide episcopal leadership and coverage within the Northeastern Jurisdiction. 
  • Episcopal Areas: West Virginia Area (West Virginia Conference), Pittsburgh Area (Western Pennsylvania Conference). and Harrisburg Area (Susquehanna Conference) – Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball. 
  • Episcopal Areas: Washington Area (Baltimore-Washington Conference) and Philadelphia Area (Peninsula Delaware Conference) – Bishop LaTrelle Easterling. 
  • Episcopal Areas: New Jersey Area (Greater New Jersey Conference) and Philadelphia Area (Eastern Pennsylvania Conference) – Bishop John Schol. 
  • Upper New York Area (Upper New York Conference) – Bishop Mark Webb. 
  • Boston Area (New England Conference) – Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar. 
  • New York Area (New York Conference) – Bishop Thomas Bickerton. 
These are temporary arrangements and configurations to provide coverage. The next in-person Jurisdictional Conference will set the episcopal areas and assignments of bishops for the next quadrennium. 
We thank you for your continued ministry and service within The United Methodist Church and the world. We invite you to pray for the church and our leadership as bishops as we serve together to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. 
In Christ, 
Boston Area
Sudarshana Devadhar
Harrisburg Area
Jeremiah J. Park
New Jersey Area
John R. Schol 
New York Area
Thomas J. Bickerton 
Philadelphia Area
Peggy A. Johnson 
Pittsburgh Area
Cynthia Moore Koikoi 
Upper New York Area
Mark Webb 
Washington Area
LaTrelle Easterling 
West Virginia Area
Sandra Steiner Ball
George W. Bashore
Violet L. Fisher
William Boyd Grove
Susan W. Hassinger 
Neil L. Irons 
Clifton S. Ives
Alfred Johnson
Ernest S. Lyght 
Marcus Matthews
Jane Allen Middleton
Susan M. Morrison
Forrest C. Stith
Peter D. Weaver
Joseph H. Yeakel