Update from the 2022 Conference of the UMC’s Northeast Jurisdiction

November 05, 2022

The 2022 Conference of the UMC’s Northeast Jurisdiction concluded today its week of work including election and appointment or re-appointment of bishops. Much was accomplished. There were technically four episcopal vacancies due to retirements. The NEJ had voted to fill two of those vacancies in consideration of the liminal season of change for the denomination and recommendations from denominational leaders that fewer bishops be in place at this time.  Rev. Hector Burgos, a candidate for bishop endorsed by MARCHA won election as the first Hispanic bishop in the history of the NEJ.  As of late last evening, the NEJ determined not to elect a second bishop but to defer that election to the 2024 Conference of the NEJ. 

Foundry rejoices that for the first time in the NEJ two openly gay candidates were among those put forward for election in this cycle.

In addition, three pieces of important progressive legislation were passed by large margins: a version of the Christmas Covenant which would bring much-needed regional autonomy to the UMC global Connection (endorsed in preparation for the delayed 2020 General Conference to be held in 2024), a Leading with Integrity resolution which encouraged those who have already decided to leave the UMC to refrain from voting or from holding positions of power in the UMC, and a Queer Delegate Empowerment Resolution which urged the centering of queer voices and concerns for inclusion within the NEJ.

The Call to Action Report on efforts to end racism was delivered and engendered deep discussion about the extent of racism within the denomination, the work that needs to be done by white people, and the circumstances which sometimes pit underrepresented groups against each other.  Testimonies of both pain and hope were shared yesterday.  Today, Pastor Ginger in collaboration with other clergy proposed a resolution which commits the NEJ to determine next steps on a plan of healing and reconciliation following those conversations.  This resolution also passed overwhelmingly.

This morning, bishop assignments for the next two years were announced and our Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling was re-appointed to serve the Baltimore-Washington Conference and she will continue also to serve the Peninsula-Delaware Conference under the collaborative arrangement that has been in place since the last set of bishop retirements. 

Foundry and the BWC were well served by two members on the NEJ Delegation, Pastor Ginger and Tracy Collins, both of whom have been leaders in the work of the delegation and committed countless hours of time to the preparatory work and to the long meetings this week in College Park, MD.