Jurisdictions & Conferences

What do you know about Jurisdictional Conference? This week the United Methodist Church will be in the news again, and I want you to be aware of it before it happens. Next week I’ll talk more about the denomination, but this week let’s talk about Jurisdictional Conference.

In our church structure, each church is a part of a conference. St. Mark’s is a member of the Desert Southwest Conference, which includes all of Arizona, parts of southwest Nevada, and a couple of smaller churches on the California side of the border.

Each conference is part of a Jurisdictional Conference, a regional conference that provides program and leadership training events. It’s is in this place that bishops are elected to serve. We are in the Western Jurisdiction, which is self-describing!

Each Jurisdictional Conference is part of the General Conference, the decision-making body of the UMC. This is where the Book of Discipline is crafted, where members from around the world come together to do the work of governing the church. General Conference is usually held every four years, although there have been a few exceptions. Our 2020 General Conference was postponed due to the pandemic. It is currently scheduled for 2024, giving our international members time to get travel visas.

A Jurisdictional Conference is held within months after a General Conference to elect bishops and select members of general boards and agencies. Because General Conference was delayed in 2020, Jurisdictional Conference was delayed. This is problematic because only Jurisdictional Conference can elect bishops, who are required by the Book of Discipline to retire within a certain time after they turn 68. Since 2020, we have had bishops retire, bishops agree not to retire, bishops come out of retirement, bishops take on oversight of additional Annual Conferences because there aren’t enough bishops to serve.

A whole bunch of legislative stuff happened, blah, blah, blah, and finally, Jurisdictional Conference was scheduled for Nov. 2-5, 2022, across all jurisdictions, to elect bishops. Bishops will then be assigned to their conferences, and will begin their service on Jan. 1. In our jurisdiction, we will be electing three new bishops. If you want to see who is being considered for bishop, follow this link to the biographies of each candidate.  Two are from our Desert Southwest Conference (no, your current pastors are not included in this list!).

This impacts St. Mark’s. Currently, Bishop Grant Hagiya is the presiding bishop of both California-Pacific Conference and the Desert Southwest Conference. He lives in California and comes to Arizona monthly to conduct business in person, in addition to virtual meetings and events. He is retiring Dec. 31, and we receive a new bishop in the Desert Southwest Conference. This bishop will work with us for four to eight years, appointing pastors to churches, giving general oversight to the interests of the church, and ensuring that rules and regulations of the General Conference are carried out.

Jurisdictional Conference will begin on Wednesday. Please pray intentionally for this process. Please pray for those attending with voice and vote. Please pray for those whose names are being considered for election. Please pray for God’s movement in that election. Please pray for the newly elected bishops and those conferences that will be receiving a new bishop.

St. Mark’s is a United Methodist Church. We join with others who serve Jesus Christ in the company of the Wesleys. We join with others in an imperfect way of being connected, in an imperfect denominational structure. This is a time for us to look beyond our own pews and to pray for the connection and the important work that is being done this week. Thanks for your prayers.

See you soon,
Pastor Lynn

For more information, check out this article.


  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.