Beloved in Christ,
I write to you today with two announcements that will impact the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church this year.
On Epiphany, I requested voluntary retirement as a bishop in The United Methodist Church, effective December 31, 2021. Today, I share this news with you.
It seems too early to announce my retirement long before it arrives, but the many steps that proceed the assignment of a new bishop demand it. This is truer this year, with denominational strife, the ongoing pandemic, and the financial consequences of each creating additional uncertainty for our United Methodist connection.
While I regret that my retirement may add to the burden of others, I am convinced that this is the right time and the right action for me personally. I will continue to work diligently with conference leaders through the year to prepare for whatever and whoever comes next. And I trust that God continues to move in the hearts of the faithful to raise up leaders for the next stage of the journey.
The other news I share is less personal but will impact us all the same.
Given the continuing presence of COVID-19 in our communities, we now expect to hold Annual Conference 2021, once again, remotely online.
While a date change is possible, please continue to hold the announced dates, June 9-12, 2021, as we explore alternative possibilities — including multiple virtual sessions. We expect to know more soon as decisions are made about plans for delayed general and jurisdictional conferences.
We’ll let members of each Annual Conference know more information as it becomes available.
Despite the many challenges and transitions life brings, in faith, we know that love lives on. Please know that I continue to hold the people and ministries of the Greater Northwest Area in my prayers as we witness this truth together, though still apart from one another.
With gratitude and hope,
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky