United Methodists from eight states will have regional meeting in Oklahoma City

About 600 people are expect to attend the United Methodist Church's South Central Jurisdictional Conference Wednesday through Saturday in Oklahoma City, with delegates scheduled to make bishop assignments and elect new bishops.
by Carla Hinton Modified: July 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm •  Published: July 17, 2012
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The future of a leadership position in the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference will be determined this week in Oklahoma City.

Whether Oklahoma's United Methodist bishop can return for another four-year term will be decided during a regional gathering set for Wednesday through Saturday at St. Luke's United Methodist Church and the Cox Convention Center.

The meeting — held every four years and expected to draw about 600 people — has not been in Oklahoma City since 1968, an Oklahoma United Methodist Conference spokeswoman said.

Holly McCray, a leader in the conference's communications department, said state United Methodists are particularly excited about the assignment of bishops because they wish to keep the Rev. Robert Hayes Jr. as their bishop for another four years.

Hayes has been bishop of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference and Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference for eight years. McCray said United Methodist bishops serve four-year terms and typically serve about eight years per assignment over the course of their careers as bishops.

McCray said delegates to the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference voted at their annual meeting in May to request that Hayes remain Oklahoma's bishop.

“He's expressed his desire to remain in Oklahoma for four more years, and there were a resounding number of votes for him from the delegation,” she said.

3 bishops will be elected

Meanwhile, McCray said three new bishops will be elected at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. One of the potential bishops, an Oklahoman, could become the first American Indian bishop since the United Methodist denomination was formed in 1968, McCray said.

The Rev. David Wilson, of Oklahoma City, is one of 10 people being considered for the three new bishops' posts. Wilson, a Choctaw Indian, has served as superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference since 2002 and lead coordinator for the North Oklahoma City Native American Ministry, a monthly fellowship gathering, since 2007. Wilson served as pastor of Norman First American United Methodist Church from 1996 to 2004.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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