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Bishop Alfred Norris to lead North Texas Conference

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Bishop Alfred L. Norris
Sept. 13, 2006

DALLAS (UMNS) — Bishop Alfred Norris has been assigned to lead the North Texas Annual Conference through August 2008, completing the term of the late Bishop Rhymes H. Moncure Jr.

Norris, who retired from the active episcopacy in 2004, will return to active service effective Nov. 1, announced Missouri Area Bishop Robert Schnase, president of the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops. Moncure died Aug 19 of complications following neurosurgery.

In a letter to conference members, Schnase said, “I hope you will join with me in giving God thanks for the gifts of ministry that Bishop Norris and his wife, Mackie, bring to the United Methodist churches of the North Texas Conference.”

He also praised the ministry of the late Bishop Moncure, who served as a pastor in the Missouri Conference before being elected to the episcopacy in 2000. Moncure served in Nebraska for four years before being appointed to the North Texas Conference (Dallas Area).

“Bishop Moncure blessed us all with his life and ministry, and his death has been painful for everyone,” he wrote. “I thank the pastors and lay members of the conference for your prayers, faithfulness and understanding during this time of grief and transition.” On Sept. 16, United Methodists in the Missouri Conference will participate in a memorial service for Moncure at Missouri United Methodist Church in Columbia.

Why is a retired bishop being assigned to serve instead of the jurisdiction holding a special election for a new bishop?

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A UMNS photo courtesy of the North Texas Annual Conference

Bishop Alfred Norris preaches for the ordination service at the 2005 North Texas Annual Conference.
The Council of Bishops is the agency responsible for filling episcopal vacancies when bishops die, retire from office, resign, face judicial action or take on special assignments, according to Paragraph 408 of the 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline.The jurisdictional college of bishops recommends to the council names to fulfill the vacancy, following consultation with the jurisdictional committee on episcopacy, which makes assignments to annual conferences of the jurisdiction. Paragraph 519.2 says the committee may recommend the reassignment of one or more previously elected bishops.

Norris, 68, was elected to the episcopacy in 1992 and served eight years as bishop of the New Mexico and Northwest Texas conferences and four years as bishop of the Texas Conference (Houston Area). He is currently bishop in residence at Gammon Theological Seminary, Atlanta.

Born in Bogalusa, La., Norris is a graduate of Dillard University, New Orleans, and Gammon Theological Seminary. He has four honorary degrees, two of which were awarded by his alma maters. He served four pastorates in the Louisiana Conference and was New Orleans District superintendent before becoming director of recruitment, and later, president of Gammon.

He was elected a delegate to five United Methodist General and Jurisdictional conferences, beginning in 1976. He was also appointed a delegate to six World Methodist Conferences. Norris served three United Methodist general agencies, including the General Board of Publication (1980-92); Board of Discipleship (1992-96); and General Council on Finance and Administration (1996-2004). He was a member of the University Senate in 2000.

The global church has been one of Norris’ great interests, and his travels have included Africa, Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines, South Korea, Israel and England. For several years, he chaired the Africa University Development Committee, helping to raise funds for the United Methodist-related school in Zimbabwe. He has served on boards of trustees for several institutions of higher learning, including Gammon, Southwestern Methodist University and Wiley College.

Committed to community service, the bishop has served on community boards and agencies in Louisiana, Georgia, New Mexico and Texas. He was the first president of the Louisiana Council for the Adoption of Minority Youth and president of the Greater New Orleans Federation of Churches.

*The above story was adapted from a release from Joan LaBarr, director of communications for the North Texas Annual Conference.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or

Related Articles

Bishop Rhymes Moncure dies of complications after surgery


Bishop Schnase announces assignment (PDF)

North Texas Annual Conference

Gammon Theological Seminary

Council of Bishops