About six weeks after Bishop Laurie Haller—who serves Iowa and the Dakotas—was injured while running, Bishop David Bard, president of the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops, issued the following statement about a temporary episcopal leadership transition.
Dear Friends in Christ in the North Central Jurisdiction:
I greet you in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the peace and power of the Holy Spirit.
As many of you are already aware, on the morning of February 16, Bishop Laurie Haller fell on ice while running, fracturing her right wrist, and being knocked unconscious. Her concussive symptoms have persisted, leading Bishop Haller to make the difficult decision to request a leave from her responsibilities as bishop.
The Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops, upon the recommendations of the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops and the North Central Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy, has approved a medical leave for a period of up to six months for Bishop Laurie Haller, beginning April 1, 2022, per paragraph 410.4 of The Book of Discipline. The request for a medical leave is part of the recovery process for Bishop Haller.
Working with the NCJ College of Bishops, the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops approved Bishop Deborah Kiesey to provide episcopal leadership for the Iowa and Dakotas Conferences during Bishop Haller’s medical leave. Bishop Kiesey was a member of the Iowa Conference when she was elected to the episcopacy, and served as resident bishop for the Dakotas Area from 2004-2012. Her knowledge of these people and these areas will be invaluable for her work.
The entire NCJ College of Bishops has promised their support for Bishop Kiesey as she assumes this responsibility at this critical time in the life of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Kiesey will be calling upon members of the College to assist her in her duties as needed.
As current president of the NCJ College of Bishops, I am deeply grateful to Bishop Kiesey for her willingness to take on this responsibility, and to the entire College for their willingness to be of assistance. I know you join me in offering prayers of healing for Bishop Haller and prayers of support for Bishop Kiesey. Please also hold the Dakotas and Iowa Conferences and their leaders in prayer during this time of interim episcopal leadership.
Grace and Peace,
Bishop David A. Bard
President, North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church