This isn't just any jurisdictional conference for Holston Conference. Members are not only losing a beloved bishop, they're welcoming a new one. Holston is also putting up a contender in the election that will produce five new bishops.
The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference has been in the works for months, but the real action happens this week, July 18-20 in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
Holston's delegation gathered in North Carolina on Monday evening, July 16. On Tuesday, they joined delegations from 14 other southeastern annual conferences in learning more about the 15 nominees for bishop, including Holston's Rev. David Graves.
On Wednesday, July 18, the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference officially opens with worship at 9 a.m. Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, 440 delegates, including 28 from Holston, will vote to elect bishops.
On Thursday evening, the SEJ Committee on Episcopacy is expected to announce new bishop assignments -- including Holston's incoming leader to follow Bishop James Swanson, who will in turn will be assigned to a new annual conference.
On Friday at 10 a.m., newly elected bishops are scheduled to be consecrated.
The Call will be at Lake Junaluska to report on Graves' performance during the election, as well as the announcement of Holston's newly assigned bishop. Follow The Call on Facebook or on Twitter.
For broader SEJ Conference coverage, watch live streaming or visit the SEJ Facebook page. For even wider coverage of bishop elections throughout the denomination, visit UMC.org's Episcopal Elections page or text "Elections" to (615) 800-6565 and receive results as they come in.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.