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Jul 19

Cynthia Fierro Harvey elected bishop of The United Methodist Church

The Rev. Cynthia Fierro HarveyThe Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey, who heads the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination’s relief agency, has been elected as a United Methodist bishop by delegates at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference.

Harvey, 53, was elected Thursday, July 19, at the jurisdiction’s quadrennial meeting in downtown Oklahoma City. On the fifth ballot, she received 165 of 720 votes cast. The number of votes needed for election on the fifth ballot was 144.

Harvey acknowledges that she will be seeking guidance from her peers and clergy and laity in her assigned conference.

“As I was receiving my hugs on the stage, I kept saying to these bishops, I’m counting on you to help me lead the way,” Harvey said.  “I’m fortunate now to have folks who have plowed that field on my behalf, particularly Bishop Huie and Bishop Sherer-Simpson, to whom I am incredibly grateful.”

“We haven’t done this in 16 years, right?” said Harvey, referring to the fact that 1996 was the last time the South Central Jurisdiction elected a female bishop.

“I’m honored that I would be this person at this point in our life of the church.”

Harvey said that she wants those across the denomination to know that sharing the gospel with people that live on the edges or who haven’t heard about the gospel yet is important to her.

“To me that’s really an important part of who I am as a human being, certainly as a clergy person, and I hope now to be able to share that with an annual conference,” Harvey said.

Harvey was the first bishop elected by the 256 delegates, an equal number of United Methodist clergy and laity, from the eight states that form the South Central Jurisdiction. The assignments of bishops in the South Central Jurisdiction for the next four years will be announced later in the week. Her four-year term of service begins Sept. 1.

Harvey was endorsed for the episcopacy by the Jurisdictional Conference Women’s Leadership Team and affirmed by MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans), the denomination’s Hispanic caucus. She also was endorsed by the Nebraska Annual Conference delegation.

Before leading UMCOR, she previously was the director of missional excellence for the Texas Annual (regional) Conference. In that role, she initiated a partnership with the Côte d’Ivoire Annual Conference. She is fluent in Spanish as well as English.

She also has previously served as executive associate pastor of Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston and associate pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church in Houston. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology.

A consecration service for the three new bishops will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 21, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. The ceremony can be watched live at the South Central Jurisdiction’s website (http://scj.umportal.org/main/article.asp?id=8808).

Within the United States, local United Methodist churches are organized into increasingly larger groups: numerous districts, dozens of annual conferences and five jurisdictions (regions). Ten active bishops now lead the 12 annual conferences that form the South Central Jurisdiction.

A United Methodist bishop in the United States is elected for life. Typically, a bishop will serve in a specific annual conference for eight years. The United Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book, directs each bishop to “guard the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the Church” and to “lead all persons entrusted to their oversight in worship, in the celebration of the sacraments, and in their mission of witness and service in the world.” Bishops also are to be “prophetic voices and courageous leaders in the cause of justice for all people.”

The states represented in this jurisdiction are: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

 

 

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  1. T. Randall Smith

    Congratulations to Bishop Harvey! She is also the first Latina elected a bishop in the SCJ. Bishop Harvey comes from the border region of Texas we call the “Valley.” Hers is a wonderful story. She is fluent in Spanish and French which helped UMCOR in Haiti and the TX Annual Conference in Cote d’Ivore. She is an outstanding human being and clergy person.

  2. Barbara Galloway

    Congratulations, Bishop Harvey! The UMC and the SCJ has been blessed!

  3. Will Reed

    Congratulations Bishop Harvey! We have been blessed by your ministry in the Texas Conference and at UMCOR. Now we pray God blesses you and those you will lead!

  4. William M. Finnin, Jr., Th. D.

    Bravo, Cynthia! May you continue to bless the faithful of the SCJ as you assume yet new challenges of leadership and service. May you serve justice, love mercy, and continue to walk humbly. Peace in the Lord.

  5. Rachel DANHO

    I just read about the good news ! Congratulations from the United Methodist women’s fellowship of Cote d’Ivoire, on your election. May the Almighty God guide you in this new mission he entrusts you. We, your sisters in Cote d’Ivoire will support you with our prayers.

  1. There’s a New Day Dawning… « theunexpectedds

    [...] We had the opportunity to meet with Bishop Harvey Saturday morning. She brings an energy to the office that is both invigorating and exciting. She expressed her willingness to be held accountable (even asked for us to help hold her accountable), and she expressed her philosophy of always speaking the truth in love. There is much Bishop Harvey must learn about Louisiana. There are countless faces that will be new to her. There are diverse cultures that will be new to her. There are new stores, new streets, a new home to move into. It’s all new for her and her family. And, then, there is that new job! She comes to Louisiana from the Houston area via New York City with her husband, Dean, and daughter, Elizabeth. For more information on Bishop Harvey click this link: http://elections.umc.org/cynthia-fierro-harvey-elected-bishop-of-the-united-methodist-church/ [...]

  2. Mujeres que hacen historia, Obispa Fierro-Harvey | Evangelizadoras de los apóstoles

    [...] Nota: La Obispa Fierro-Harveyes líder del área episcopal de Louisiana y fue elegida obispa en 2012. [...]

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