Seven areas in North Central assigned new United Methodist bishops


July 17, 2004                              


DAVENPORT, IOWA (UMNS) – United Methodists in seven episcopal areas of the denomination’s North Central Jurisdiction will welcome new bishops on Sept. 1.


Assignments for the 10 bishops—including three who are newly elected—who will serve the 12 conferences in the nine-state region were announced July 17 at the final business session of the July 14-17 jurisdictional conference in Davenport, Iowa. Assignments run through Aug. 31, 2008.


New bishops were consecrated July 17 at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Davenport in a service concluding the jurisdictional conference.


Assignments for the bishops serving the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church are:


Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher, 59, Illinois Area (Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference), will continue where she has served since 1996.


Bishop Michael J. Coyner, 54, will move to the Indiana Area (North Indiana and South Indiana conferences) from the Dakotas Area. He succeeds Bishop Woodie W. White, who is retiring.


Bishop Sally Dyck, 50, Minnesota Area (Minnesota Conference). A new bishop, she was pastor of Garfield United Methodist Church in Pepper Pike, Ohio, in the East Ohio Conference and succeeds Bishop John L. Hopkins.


Bishop John L. Hopkins, 58, will move to the Ohio East Area (East Ohio Conference) from the Minnesota Area where he has served since 1996. He succeeds Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton.


Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, 49, Chicago Area (Northern Illinois Conference). A new bishop, he was superintendent of the Nicolet district in the Wisconsin Conference and succeeds Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, who is retiring.


Bishop Jonathan Keaton, 58, will move to the Michigan Area (Detroit and West Michigan annual conferences) from Ohio East where he has served since 1996.


Bishop Deborah Kiesey, 53, Dakotas Area (Dakotas Annual Conference). A new bishop, she was superintendent of the Waterloo District in the Iowa Conference and succeeds Bishop Michael J. Coyner.

Bishop Linda Lee, 55, will move to the Wisconsin Area (Wisconsin Conference) from the Michigan Area where she has served since 2000. She succeeds Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, who is retiring.

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, 53, Ohio West Area (West Ohio Conference), will continue where he has served since 2000.


Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, 49, Iowa Area (Iowa Conference), will continue where he has served since 2000.


Bishops may serve one episcopal area for up to 12 years. The traditional tenure is two four-year terms. Bishops in the United Methodist Church are elected for life but must retire from active administration at the jurisdictional conference following their 66th birthdays.


The United Methodist Book of Discipline charges bishops “to lead and oversee the spiritual and temporal affairs” of the denomination and to “lead the church in its mission of witness and service in the world.”

News media contact Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn. (615) 742-5470,




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