The WPA General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegation Seeks Episcopal Candidate Nominations



The Western Pennsylvania General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegation invites the laity, clergy, and churches of the Annual Conference to nominate ordained elders who are members of or serving in Western Pennsylvania to be considered for episcopal candidacy. Nominations properly submitted by 11:59 PM on November 20, 2023 will be included in the delegation’s episcopal nominations process which will begin at the delegation meeting on December 2, 2023.
The delegation invites and encourages all United Methodists to join in praying for this process leading to the possible election of bishops at the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference in July 2024 in Pittsburgh.
How to Nominate:

  1.  Read the description of “Essential Qualities for Episcopal Candidates”
  2. Prayerfully consider ordained elders who are members of The Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference or who are serving in Western Pennsylvania. They should be elders who you believe would be faithful and effective episcopal leaders. (To be nominated, the person must be an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, a member of or serving in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, and younger than 68 on July 1, 2024.)
  3. Contact the person you might nominate in order to determine if the person is willing to be considered for service as an episcopal leader.
  4. Complete the Nomination Form (preferably online). Describe how your nominee reflects the Essential Qualities for Episcopal Candidates. A printable form to be mailed is available.
  5. Forward the completed form online or mail as indicated at the bottom of the form.
  6. If you have any questions about the process, please contact the Episcopal Nominations Committee co-chair,Tracy Merrick, via email at or call 724-934-9793.
The Process:
  1.  November 20, 2023: The deadline for nominations to be submitted by laity, clergy, and churches of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference.
  2. December 2, 2023: The delegation will consider all of the nominations and discern which nominees to interview. Those individuals will be asked to submit written statements regarding their call to ministry and the gifts and graces they would bring to the episcopacy.
  3. January 27, 2024: Nominees will be interviewed in small groups, and the delegation will participate in a discernment process which may lead to the naming of one or more endorsed candidates for the episcopacy.
  4. June 6-8, 2024: The delegation will present endorsed candidate(s) to the Annual Conference. Members of the Annual Conference will determine whether they wish to formally nominate episcopal candidate(s). Additional candidates may be nominated from the floor at Annual Conference.
  5. July 8–12, 2024:  Jurisdictional Conference delegates will interview those nominated by annual conferences and caucus groups and will elect bishop(s). Although the exact number of bishops to be elected has yet to be determined, those who are elected will take office on September 1, 2024.

Essential Qualities for Episcopal Candidates:
These Essential Qualities of Episcopal Candidates were recommended in 2011 by the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy. Past Western Pennsylvania General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference delegations have referred to this document in the Episcopal Nominations process.  The current delegation’s Episcopal Nominations Committee team has used this document as a foundation and has slightly revised it.   
A changing church and a world in constant turmoil call for episcopal leaders who are able to address change and crises with Biblical conviction, vision and compassion, leading the church boldly in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on the Episcopacy offers for your consideration the following qualities and characteristics that it believes are essential for bishops in the 21st century.
  • Spiritual grounding   The bishop must demonstrate a vital and growing relationship with Jesus Christ and a passion for others to experience the same. This must be the very core of the bishop’s life and ministry. This core will be evident in the bishop’s personal wholeness and authenticity.  The bishop will demonstrate a passion for bringing together the evangelical and social gospels proclaiming and modeling the unconditional love of God for all. 
  • Vision  The bishop will be a risk taker and prophetic voice, able to ignite others with a passion for God’s vision and goals. The bishop will identify a clear sense of purpose for the church, claiming the heritage of the United Methodist Church, yet committed to helping the church claim new and compelling ways for ministry, fueled by the Spirit of God.
  • Leadership  The bishop will be able to effectively manage stressful situations, actively supporting the accountability of all involved. Past ministry experience will show evidence of developing, empowering, and deploying persons for ministry; and will demonstrate seasoned experience in shared leadership with laity and clergy within an understanding of the local and global church. The bishop will convey a non-anxious presence to affirm and guide the ministries of the church.
  • Inclusiveness  The bishop will be committed to an inclusive church, recognizing the gifts and graces of all people. The bishop’s experience will demonstrate a commitment to an inclusive church by recognizing and incorporating the gifts and graces of all persons, regardless of lay or clergy status, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, and physical or mental challenges.
The basic roles and duties of bishops are found in The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2016 ¶ 403:

Bishops are elected from the elders and set apart for a ministry of servant leadership, general oversight and supervision (¶ 401). As followers of Jesus Christ, bishops are authorized to guard the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the Church. The role and calling forth of the bishop is to exercise oversight and support of the Church in its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  The basis of such discipleship of leadership (episkope) lies in discipline and a disciplined life.The bishop leads, therefore, through the following disciplines:
  1.  A vital and renewing spirit.
  2.  An enquiring mind and a commitment to the teaching office.
  3.  A vision for the Church.
  4.  A prophetic commitment for the transformation of the Church and the world.
  5.  A passion for the unity of the Church.
  6. The ministry of administration.


Complete Online Form

Essential Qualities for Episcopal Candidate

Printable Nomination Form