U.S. jurisdictions of The UMC will have to reduce the number of bishops by one
prior to Sept. 1, 2012, the date new bishops assume their assignments. The Southeastern Jurisdiction currently has one bishop less than it is entitled to, so no reduction is needed in that jurisdiction.

The North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops decided, Jan. 26, to reduce the number of episcopal areas from 10 to nine by linking the Dakotas Annual Conference and Minnesota Annual Conference into one episcopal area. Conference boundaries will not change, but the two conferences will be served by one bishop. “We regret that financial considerations have forced us to make this decision,” said Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton, president of the NCJ College of Bishops. “Regardless, we know that nothing will prevent us from our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

The bishops will request an immediate grant of $40,000 from the NCJ Mission Council to cover initial transition costs as well as ongoing support for the conferences forming the new episcopal area. -- UMNS

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