DES MOINES, WASH – With renewed focus and changing circumstances in the church, Greater Northwest Episcopal Area Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky announced today that she is postponing her retirement.
“I hope and pray that postponing retirement will relieve anxiety and contribute to an orderly transition of leadership for all the conferences in the Western Jurisdiction during this extended pandemic interruption of normalcy,” Stanovsky wrote in a letter to clergy and lay leaders across the Greater Northwest Area.
In February, Stanovsky announced that she would be retiring as of December 31, 2021. Since that announcement, however, The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops revealed that no episcopal elections would occur until after a twice-postponed General Conference convenes in 2022.
“The Western Jurisdiction’s Committee of Episcopacy welcomes Bishop Stanovsky’s decision,” offered chairperson Rev. Mary Huycke. “We believe this will provide needed stability for both the episcopal area and the jurisdiction in this time of transition as we await general and jurisdictional conferences in the second half of 2022.”
Stanovsky originally intended for her retirement to coincide with that of her fellow Western Jurisdiction colleagues, Bishops Bob Hoshibata of the Desert Southwest Conference and Grant Hagiya of the California-Pacific Conference.
“I never intended my retirement to add to the uncertainty of this wilderness passage,” Stanovsky wrote. “At the time, we anticipated regular in-person general and jurisdictional conferences in the fall of 2021, when new bishops might be elected to begin serving as the new quadrennium began with the new year. Since that request, general and jurisdictional conferences have been put off again, further postponing the election and assignment of new bishops. In light of these delays, the timing of my requested retirement is no longer helpful.”
Stanovsky said she has a “renewed sense of focused mission” and is grateful for the opportunity to continue her work with the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences. While she doesn’t set a new date for retirement, she expresses hope that it will follow the election and assignment of new bishops in 2022.
Read her full letter here.