Oklahoma's United Methodist bishop was reappointed to lead the state's Methodist congregations for another four years.
The announcement about the reappointment of the Rev. Robert E. Hayes Jr. was made late Friday at a regional United Methodist gathering at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
About 600 United Methodists met Wednesday through Saturday as part of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference meeting. The conference is one of five geographic regions of the United Methodist Church and includes denominational conference bodies in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska and Missouri.
Hayes has been bishop of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference and Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference for eight years. Holly McCray, an Oklahoma conference spokeswoman, said United Methodist bishops serve four-year terms and typically serve about eight years per assignment over the course of their careers as bishops.
The Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church includes 525 churches, representing about 235,000 members, and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference includes about 84 churches, representing about 6,000 members.
Three new bishops
In other business, regional delegates elected three new bishops. The new bishops are: the Rev. Mike McKee, senior minister of First United Methodist-Hurst, Texas; the Rev. Gary Mueller, senior pastor of First United Methodist-Plano, Texas, and the Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey, of Texas, who heads the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination's relief agency.
McCray said the Rev. David Wilson, an Oklahoman who had been a bishop nominee, chose to withdraw his candidacy as the rounds of voting progressed during the regional conference and the voting totals for each candidate were reported. Wilson, a Choctaw Indian, is superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.