|James "Jim" Dorff elected a bishop of The United Methodist Church|
By Linda Green
Bishop James (Jim) E. Dorff
July 19, 2008 | DALLAS (UMNS)
The Rev. James (Jim) E. Dorff of McKinney, Texas, has been elected a
bishop by the South Central Jurisdictional Conference of The United
Dorff, 61, area provost of the North Texas Annual Conference, was
elected July 18 following a long balloting process. He will fill one of
the vacancies created in the denomination's South Central Jurisdiction
College of Bishops by the retirements of two bishops and the death of a
Endorsed by the North Texas Conference's delegation to the 2008 General
and Jurisdictional conferences, Dorff was elected on the 23rd ballot,
receiving 187 of 292 votes cast.
"This is quite a shock," he said. "I'm very excited and pleased … and looking forward to serving."
Dorff was the third bishop elected by 297 delegates attending the South
Central Jurisdictional conference. He will be among 11 active bishops
leading an episcopal area of one or more of the 15 annual conferences
that make up the eight-state jurisdiction. The South Central
Jurisdiction is home to 1.8 million United Methodists in Arkansas,
Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
A consecration service for the three new bishops will be held at 10:30
a.m. Saturday, July 19, at First United Methodist Church in downtown
An episcopal assignment committee is already considering where Dorff and
the other active bishops in the jurisdiction will serve for the next
four years. Their assignments will be effective Sept. 1.
Dorff, a former superintendent of the Dallas-Denton District, learned
about the episcopacy from North Texas Bishops William Oden and the late
Rhymes Moncure. He described Oden as a superb thinker and Moncure as one
who liked to be with people and bring people to the church.
The value of relationships is one of the most important lessons he learned from both men, he said.
"People need to know that you love, support and appreciate them, but
that you need to be able to say the things to them that they need to
hear," Dorff said.
A bishop needs to be thoughtful, strategic, thinking about the future
and directly involved with people, helping people to be Christ in the
world, he said.
Following his election, Dorff, who served as the director of pastoral
care and counseling at Highland Park United Methodist Church from
1979-1989, said that his passion for ministry was three-fold.
"We need to get back to the business of youth ministry, campus ministry and ministry to young adults," he said.
Area provost since 2005, Dorff said the church has to be about building
the leadership of new churches so that they become lasting communities
of faith. He wants to examine how the church and bishops "can continue
to increase clergy effectiveness, moving to excellence."
While the South Central Jurisdictional Conference is occurring, four
other United Methodist jurisdictional conferences are also meeting to
A United Methodist bishop is elected for life. Although eight years is
the standard term for a bishop to serve in an episcopal area, it is not
unusual for a bishop to be assigned to one area for 12 years for
Bishops are charged by the church’s Book of Discipline to “guard the
faith, order, liturgy, doctrine and discipline of the Church" and "lead
all persons entrusted to their oversight in worship, in the celebration
of the sacraments, and in their mission of witness and service in the
world." They are also charged "to be prophetic voices and courageous
leaders in the cause of justice for all people."
A jurisdictional conference has the following power and duties:
- To promote the evangelistic, educational, missionary and
benevolent interests of the church and to provide for interests and
institutions within their boundaries. The South Central Jurisdictional
Conference institutions are Mt. Sequoyah, Fayetteville, Ark.; the Lydia
Patterson Institute, El Paso, Texas; and Southern Methodist University,
- To elect bishops.
- To establish and constitute jurisdictional conference boards as auxiliaries to the general boards of the church.
- To determine the boundaries of annual conferences.
- To make rules and regulations for the administration of the church's work within the jurisdiction.
- To appoint a committee on appeals.
The United Methodist Church was created in 1968 by a merger of the
Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist churches. Methodists elected
their bishops at one national gathering until 1940, when the
jurisdictional system was instituted. Bishops in the EUB church were
elected at one national gathering until 1968.
News media contact: Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn., (6... or email@example.com