2022 NCJ Conference

The North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) convened in Fort Wayne, Indiana, November 2-5, 2022 with the theme We Press On. This Jurisdictional Conference gathered delegates (lay and clergy) from across Illinois (Northern Illinois, Illinois Great Rivers), Indiana, Iowa, Ohio (East Ohio and West Ohio), Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin for a momentous time filled with worship and collective discernment regarding the election of episcopal leadership and receiving episcopal assignments.

The United Methodist Church is divided into five jurisdictions in the United States. Every four years, elected members of the Minnesota Delegation attend the North Central Jurisdictional Conference to elect new bishops and select members of general boards and agencies. 

Rev. Carol Zaagsma, Dave Nuckols, Rev. Woojae Im, and Becky Boland were Minnesota’s delegates to the NCJ Conference. Alternate delegates were Revs. Jeff Ozanne, Susan Mullin, Henry Dolopei, and Donna Dempewolf, along with lay people Walker Brault, Cindy Saufferer, Jessica Lanes, and Shirley Durr. You can send your thoughts to the Minnesota delegation at mngcdelegation@gmail.com.

News Articles, Videos, and Press Releases

Friday, Nov. 4

[Video] Meet Bishop Lanette Plambeck: Bishop Lanette sat down with Rev. Cindy Gregorson of the Minnesota Conference on Nov. 5th to share her excitement for the first steps in this new chapter of her ministry and her vision for serving the Dakotas and Minnesota Conferences.

10 things to help you get to know Bishop Lanette Plambeck: Get a sense of the new bishop's background, gifts, vision for the church, leadership style, and views on human sexuality.

Bishop Lanette Plambeck Assigned to Dakotas-Minnesota Area: We rejoice to announce that newly elected Bishop Lanette L. Plambeck has been assigned to the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area. She will begin a two-year term on Jan. 1, 2023.

Friday wrap-up: Stand up for the good news: In the third day of 2022 NCJ, important conversations on gun violence and homophobia and transphobia in the church were held. Dates and locations were announced for the next General Conference and NCJ Conference.

Stand up with the good news: Worship on NCJ day 4: Bishop Julius C. Trimble preached on day four of 2022 NCJ. "Jesus is real, and the gospel is real,” said Trimble. “And we stand for the gospel. Because the gospel is good news.”

The Episcopal 22-10: "I confess I often categorized the election of bishops to something akin to horse trading," writes Rev. Cindy Gregorson. "But the 2022 NCJ was noticeably different." The 10 candidates chose to support and pray for each other. They also stood to read a shared liturgy and prayer.

The impact of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism within The UMC: Delegates and bishops gathered for a time of learning and conversation on understanding the impact of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism within The UMC. Three people told stories, with a time for small group conversations after each story.

Reflecting on odd space: In this blog post Rev. Donna Dempewolf reflects on all the odd experiences during her time at 2022 NCJ and on her gratitude for Bishops Dyck and Ough and the newly elected bishops.

Thursday, Nov. 3

Thursday Wrap-Up: Identity in Christ and Odd Space: Bishop David Bard gave the episcopal address and the retirement of three bishops were celebrated. The third and final bishop was elected.

Episcopal Address: We are in Odd Space: Bishop David Bard launched into his episcopal address declaring that we find ourselves in odd space historically, politically, and denominationally. In this odd time, the bishop challenged us to chop up our old decision-making tables and turn them into firewood that would create a warming fire where storytelling would be central.

NCJ elects Rev. Dan Schwerin as bishop in the sixth round of balloting: Rev. Dan Schwerin, assistant to the bishop for the Wisconsin Conference, was elected as the third and final new bishop in The UMC's 2022 NCJ Conference.

Retiring Bishops Dyck, Haller, and Ough honored: Both Bishops Dyck and Ough served as Minnesota's bishop, and shared a conversation on their ministry, their hopes and concerns for the future of the UMC, and their time in Minnesota. 

Watch Bishops Dyck and Ough relfect on ministry in Minnesota.

[Video] Watch Bishops Ough and Dyck reflect on their episcopal ministry: Retired Bishops Sally Dyck and Bruce Ough sit down with Rev. Cindy Gregorson at NCJ 2022 to reflect on their years serving the Minnesota Conference.

Reminders of God's Work and Blessings: In this blog post, Rev. Henry Dolopei II, a clergy delegate for Minnesota, shares his joys and reflections on the second day of 2022 NCJ.

Mercy Sustains: Day 2 Worship at NCJ: Day two opening worship began with prayer and reflection centered around the Native American Spirit Drum. Bishop Tracy Malone of the Ohio East Area preached from 2 Corinthians 4:7-18.

Wednesday, Nov. 2

Wednesday's Wrap-Up: Bishops' elections and the work of the Mission Council: The first full day of the 2022 North Central Jurisdictional Conference included the elections of two new bishops, a call to imagine more shared episcopal areas in our future, and presentations on the work of the Mission Council and the proposed 2022 Jurisdictional Budget.

Can these dry bones live? Opening worship at NCJ: More than 600 gathered to worship and hear a message titled "God Has Us Right Where God Wants Us," from Bishop Bruce R. Ough.

North Central elects Bigham-Tsai bishop in historic vote: Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai from Michigan has been elected as bishop in The UMC’s North Central Jurisdictional Conference. Bigham-Tsai’s election on Wednesday afternoon was a historic milestone, as she was the first to be elected on the first round of voting within the NCJ’s history.

Plambeck wins bishop post in North Central: Rev. Lanette Plambeck, the only endorsed candidate for bishop of the Iowa Annual Conference, was elected on the third ballot at the NCJ Conference. 

Inhaling Hope, Exhaling Gratitude: "We, as a people of faith, acknowledge the power of prayer, but today I experienced it. The Spirit moved so freely, beginning with worship carrying the message of grace and wholeness for all." Cindy Saufferer, a Minnesota alternate delegate to the NCJ Conference, shares her perspective on the first day.

Tuesday, Nov. 1

North Central Jurisdictional Conference: What you should know: This week, delegates will gather from 10 conferences to elect three new bishops after two years of delay due to COVID. We will learn who the next bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area will be.

Meet some of the youngest delegates to NCJ 2022: The young adult delegates attending NCJ 2022 share a common motivation to represent the voices of the youngest generations at this North Central Jurisdiction Conference.

Episcopal Forum hosted by Black Methodists for Church Renewal: The North Central Jurisdictional Conference delegates and episcopal candidates landed in Fort Wayne, Indiana Tuesday and gathered for a forum intended to introduce the ten candidates to the delegates. Delegates were able to gain insight into what shapes the candidates' understanding of racism in the church and how they might continue the work of dismantling and eradicating racism in their role as bishop.


NCJ Committee on Episcopacy Recommends Episcopal Election: The North Central Jurisdiction will reverse the decision of NCJ 2021, thereby returning the total number to nine active bishops, beginning January 1, 2023, until the next General Conference declares otherwise. Additionally, the NCJ will be asked to reaffirm the Dakotas and Minnesota returning to a single episcopal area, being served by one bishop.

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