Is there a bishop in the house? For a few days this week, Bishop James Swanson won't be the only one.
On Jan. 6-8, Holston Conference will host 21 bishops for a meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops. The church leaders are traveling to east Tennessee because it is traditional for the SEJ College of Bishops to meet in the Episcopal Area of the bishop currently serving as president. Swanson will hold that title through May 2011.
The SEJ College includes 13 active bishops serving 15 annual conferences in nine states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Retired bishops of the jurisdiction are also included in the membership but may not vote on issues, according to Swanson.
Swanson is expecting 13 active and eight retired bishops to attend meetings at the Hilton Airport Hotel and tour the Alcoa Conference Center, where the 30 or so staff members have been told to be present and at their desks. Of all the expected guests, Bishop Timothy Whitaker of the Florida Annual Conference will travel the longest distance – from Lakeland, Fla.
Two retired bishops are scheduled to preach in the Maryville District on Sunday morning, Jan. 9: Bishop Clay Lee at Broadway United Methodist Church and Bishop William Morris at First Gatlinburg UMC.
The Call will post photos of visiting bishops on Holston's Facebook page, Swanson said.
"I want people to know that the work of the church goes beyond the local church, district, and annual conference, but into the nine southeastern states and even beyond that," he said. "When we understand how we are connected to together, we can do more in our work for Christ."