Bishop Ough named Council of Bishops’ president-designate

November 15, 2013

The United Methodist Council of Bishops elected Bishop Bruce R. Ough as its president-designate. He will serve in that capacity for two years and is expected to begin a two-year term as president in 2016.

The council is made up of all active and retired bishops of The United Methodist Church. Its president is responsible for presiding over the bishops’ executive committee and twice-yearly council meetings.

The election occurred at a Council of Bishops meeting this week at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. At that meeting, Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr.—who leads the California-Nevada Annual Conference—was also elected as the next president of the council.

Brown will take office in May 2014, and Ough will receive the gavel during the 2016 General Conference.

In addition to leading the Minnesota and Dakotas conferences, Bishop Ough presides over The United Methodist Church missions in Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. For the next four years, he also serves as chair of the 59-member Connectional Table, which coordinates The United Methodist Church’s mission, ministry, and resources.

“I did not see this coming,” Ough told the Council of Bishops after his election, which he won by at least a two-thirds vote. He told colleagues that he’s been saying “yes” to God ever since his paternal grandmother encouraged him to become ordained.

He also told the council that he has learned some things in addressing that call from God.

“Every time Christ calls us to take another step of faith or to take a step on the way, it is the way of the cross,” he said. “It is a way to fully participate in Christ’s life, death and resurrection. And, folks, if we keep saying yes, we will be transformed.” I’ve also learned that we don’t travel on the way alone. This is not a singular journey. It is a journey of the community.”

Only General Conference—the global church’s lawmaking assembly—can speak officially for The United Methodist Church. But the council president is occasionally asked to speak to journalists and others within and outside of the denomination on behalf of the bishops and church teachings. The president also takes a leading role in council initiatives.

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