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Northeastern United Methodists assign bishops

By Linda Bloom*
July 18, 2008 | HARRISBURG, Pa. (UMNS)

Bishop Peggy Johnson

The new United Methodist bishop in the Northeast has been assigned to the denomination’s Philadelphia Area for the next four years.

Bishop Peggy Johnson will oversee the Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware annual (regional) conferences in that area.

The assignments for episcopal areas—announced July 18 during the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference—will take effect Sept. 1.

Because of an earlier vote to redraw conference boundaries, two episcopal areas—New York West and Albany (N.Y.)—will be significantly changed in 2010. Bishop Marcus Matthews has been assigned to the New York West Area, covering the North Central New York and Western New York conferences. Bishop Violet Fisher, who led New York West for the past eight years, is retiring.

The Northeastern Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops is requesting the United Methodist Council of Bishops appoint retired Bishop Susan Hassinger to the Albany Area, according to Bishop John Schol. She has served there for about two years since the early retirement of Bishop Susan Morrison.

Bishop Marcus Matthews


Hassinger will work with the New York West Area on the realignment of four conferences in New York state into what will become the Upper New York Area, he said. She also will work with the Boston Area to transition Vermont churches in the Troy Conference to the New England Conference and with the Harrisburg Area to transition northeast Pennsylvania churches in the Wyoming Conference to the Central Pennsylvania Conference.

“Her assignment will be completed when the Albany Area completes its work in 2010,” Schol added.

The seven other active Northeast bishops have served in their current locations for the past four years and have been assigned to a second term there. They are:

Bishop Peter Weaver—Boston Area, covering the New England Conference and the states of Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton—Harrisburg Area, covering the Central Pennsylvania Conference.

Bishop Susan Hassinger


Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar—New Jersey Area, covering the Greater New Jersey Conference.

Bishop Jeremiah J. Park—New York Area, covering the New York Conference, which includes southern New York state and Connecticut.

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton—Pittsburgh area, covering the Western Pennsylvania Conference.

Bishop John Schol—Washington Area, covering the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

Bishop Ernest Lyght—West Virginia Area, covering the West Virginia Conference.

The Northeastern Jurisdiction is home to United Methodists in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. It also includes the District of Columbia. The Northeastern is one of five U.S. jurisdictions along with seven central conferences that serve United Methodists around the globe.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York,  (6... or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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