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Citing health, Bishop Morrison plans to retire in fall

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Bishop Susan Morrison
Feb. 21, 2006

A UMNS Report
By Kathy L. Gilbert*

United Methodist Bishop Susan M. Morrison has announced she will retire Sept. 1 because of health reasons.

Morrison, 63, serves the denomination’s Albany (N.Y.) Area, which includes the Troy and Wyoming Annual (regional) conferences.

She did not want to comment on her health problems but said her energy has really been affected.

“It is really time for me to take care of my health,” she said, in announcing her decision. “Especially in a time when we need to model wellness, I need to do some modeling. I need to work on my wellness so I can be ready for the next grand adventure God has for me.”

Morrison was elected bishop in 1988 and served in the Philadelphia Area until 1996. She has served the Albany Area since that time.

“I love what I do, and I feel absolutely called, so it was a very tough decision,” she told United Methodist News Service. “I will never not be part of the church’s ministry.”

In a letter posted on the Troy and Wyoming Annual Conference Web sites, Morrison said she announced her plans at the semi-annual meeting of the Northeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops and Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy last week.

While health reasons are her primary concern, Morrison said family responsibilities also played a part in her decision. “There are family responsibilities that need more time and attention than I can give them. I am also realizing our years are finite,” she said.

Her retirement comes in the middle of her four-year assignment to the Albany Area. Morrison has recommended retired Bishop Susan W. Hassinger to serve the area for the remainder of her term. The Northeastern Jurisdiction, along with the other U.S. jurisdictions of the church, will elect bishops in 2008 to follow those who retire.

Bishop Peter Weaver, president of the Council of Bishops, said nominations to fill Morrison’s position will come from the College of Bishops and then will be voted on by the entire council.

“I am very grateful for Bishop Morrison’s excellent ministry across the years, including her work as a missionary in Brazil and her good work as a district superintendent and council director,” he said.

Weaver followed Morrison as bishop of the Philadelphia Area. “I inherited some very creative work,” he said.

“She has always demonstrated a great respect and appreciation for diversity and is keenly interested in how the Christian community can be inclusive and loving toward each other without having to agree on everything.”

Weaver said everyone on the Council of Bishops is keeping Morrison in their prayers and will be giving their full attention to caring for the Albany Area through the next two years.

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

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

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