Monday, November 7, 2022

Up Next: Episcopal Elections in Central and Southern Europe and the Philippines

For many United Methodists in the United States, attention was focused this past week on episcopal elections in the five US jurisdictions. Although those elections are now completed, that is not the end of United Methodist episcopal elections this year. Up next are elections in the Central and Southern Europe Central Conference and the Philippines Central Conference.

The Central and Southern Europe Central Conference will meet November 16-20 in Basel. The Central Conference will elect one bishop, with balloting to begin on Thursday, Nov. 17 and continue to Friday, Nov. 18 if necessary (full agenda here). Unlike in the United States, the Central and Southern Europe Central Conference does not provide information about publicly declared candidates prior to the election, a function of its smaller size with more personal connections and differing cultural understandings.

In addition to its episcopal election, the central conference will also discuss its round table process to address the future of the central conference in the light of varying views of sexuality and departures from the denomination (for more, see this article and this fact sheet, both in German).

Next, the Philippines Central Conference will meet November 24-26 to elect three bishops. All three episcopal seats in the Philippines are up for vote in every episcopal election. There are numerous declared candidates for the episcopacy in the Philippines, and the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists and the Philippines Central Conference College of Bishops organized candidates forums so that Filipino United Methodists can learn more about those candidates. Videos of full forums are available here: [1], [2], and [3], and excerpts from each of the candidates are available in this playlist

Note the role of the US-based National Association of Filipino American United Methodists in organizing a candidates' forum for the Philippines. This is a clear indication that many Filipino American United Methodists still have strong ties to their home country and the church there. Episcopal elections always have implications beyond the boundaries in which candidates are elected, and in some instances, this is especially so.

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