Bishop Grant J. Hagiya, presiding over the Western Jurisdictional Conference Session on Friday, July 20, 2012 in San Diego, California. Photo by Patrick Scriven
By Greg Nelson, Director of Communications for the Oregon-Idaho Conference
The Western Jurisdiction has ratified the assignments of their Committee on Episcopacy for five episcopal areas.
Following action of the 2008 General Conference, the jurisdiction has restructured its episcopal areas so that a new Greater Northwest Episcopal Area, with episcopal residence in Normandy Park, Wash. will provide leadership for the Alaska United Methodist Conference, Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, and the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. This creates the largest geographic episcopal area in the United States.
Other assignments made by the conference were: Bishop Minerva Carcaño to the Los Angeles Area (California-Pacific Annual Conference), Bishop Robert Hoshibata to the Phoenix Area (Desert Southwest Annual Conference), Bishop Elaine Stanovsky to the Mountain Sky Area (Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Annual Conferences), and Bishop Warner Brown to the San Francisco Area (California-Nevada Annual Conference).
Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, who currently serves the Los Angeles Area, will retire at the end of her term in August. With this one retirement, the Western Jurisdiction was left with five Bishops as proscribed by the mandated reduction of leadership.
In recognition of the geography and shared values of the area, the Denver Area has been renamed the Mountain Sky area by the Jurisdictional Conference. Similarly the new episcopal area was named the Greater Northwest Area in recognition of the expanse and diversity of the area rather than the for the location of a residence or office.
The Conference also adopted a motion to change the name of the Alaska Missionary Conference to the Alaska United Methodist Conference. Without changing the status the conference has with the General Board of Global Ministries, this name change creates a more respectful relationship to the indigenous people of Alaska.