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Julius C. Trimble elected a bishop of The United Methodist Church

By Kathy Gilbert
July 18, 2008 | GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (UMNS)

Bishop-elect Julius Trimble

The Rev. Julius C. Trimble, Warrensville Heights, Ohio, has been elected a bishop by the North Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church.

Trimble, 54, senior pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Warrensville Heights, was elected July 18 with 225 votes on the 24th ballot by conference delegates. He fills a vacancy created in the denomination’s North Central College of Bishops by the retirement of Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher, who has led the Illinois Area.

A consecration service for Trimble is set for 9:30 a.m. on July 19 at First United Methodist Church, Grand Rapids. Geographical assignments for the jurisdiction’s bishops will be announced after the service.

“I thank Jesus Christ, who is my personal savior but not my private one,” Trimble said as he was introduced to the delegates as Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble. “You could have elected any of the other candidates, and you would have done a great work for the church.” The Rev. David Alan Bard, Duluth, Minn., withdrew his name before the last ballot was taken.

Trimble was endorsed by the East Ohio Annual (regional) Conference, Greater Cleveland Methodist Ministers Alliance and the North Central Jurisdiction’s Black Methodists for Church Renewal. On Sept. 1, he will become one of 10 active bishops in the North Central Jurisdiction, which includes 12 conferences and nine states.

Trimble has been pastor at Aldersgate since 2003 and served as superintendent of the Cleveland District from 1996-2003. He began his ministry in 1980 as a youth minister at Christ United Methodist Church in Chicago.

He received his doctorate in ministry at Ashland Theological Seminary in 1999 and was named an outstanding alumnus of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1998. He received the 2007 Bishop James S. Thomas Social Action Award from the Methodist Federation for Social Action. He is a member of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, a trustee of the Saint Luke's Foundation of Cleveland and a director of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, where he is chairperson of the Alcohol, Other Addictions and Healthcare work area.

Since 2001 he has served as an adjunct instructor in the religion department of Baldwin-Wallace College, teaching courses on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the African-American religious experience.

Trimble has preached in South Africa and Zimbabwe and was the keynote speaker for the National Episcopal Urban Conference in 1996. He and his wife, Racelder, have three children.

Reciting a prayer he learned from his grandmother, Trimble said, “Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” Looking around the jurisdictional conference stage he added, “I have served under some great bishops, God bless you.”

A United Methodist bishop in the United States 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 missional reasons.”

Bishops are charged by the church’s Book of Discipline to “lead and oversee the spiritual and temporal affairs” of the church and to “guard, transmit, teach and proclaim, corporately and individually, the apostolic faith as it is expressed in Scripture and tradition, and, as they are led and endowed by the Spirit, to interpret that faith evangelically and prophetically.”

*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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