By: Rev. Cindy Gregorson
Bishop Lanette Plambeck has been assigned as the resident bishop for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area effective Jan. 1, 2023. She was elected to the episcopacy at the 2022 North Central Jurisdictional Conference. Before her election, she served as the assistant to the bishop and director of clergy and leadership Excellence in the Iowa Annual Conference.
Bishop Plambeck, in her pastoral service, has served as a local church pastor in four different pastoral settings including urban, county seat, town, and country. She has experience as a college chaplain and a licensed counselor in family systems and chemical and substance abuse. She is a veteran of the U.S. Army and was deployed to Desert Storm/Desert Shield.
She says the measure of her leadership is three questions she asks herself at the end of each day: Did I glorify God? Did I point people to Christ? Did I love? She describes herself as “unapologetically Wesleyan and so in love with Jesus and his ministry marked by compassion, grace and justice.” A gift she brings as a leader is “to inspire others to live lives of significance as we work for ‘kingdom on earth as it is in heaven’ through active discipleship as we respond to the suffering in the world. I am committed to developing leaders (clergy and laity) to grow into the very best versions of themselves so that they can be at their very best for God.”
Bishop Plambeck has one adult daughter who lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
The North Central Jurisdiction’s Episcopacy Committee is responsible for assigning bishops—a process that begins immediately after all bishops are elected. The committee includes two people from each annual conference. The announcement of the assignments of all nine bishops was made on Saturday morning at the end of the consecration service for the three new bishops. Their assignments take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Bishops are normally assigned for a four-year term, but this will be a shortened assignment, as the Jurisdictional Conference is scheduled to meet in its regular sequence following the General Conference in July 2024 to elect and assign bishops for the 2024-2028 quadrennium.
Rev. Carol Zaagsma and Dave Nuckols represented the Minnesota Annual Conference on the committee. Rev. Zaagsma said of the process, “This was my first experience serving on the NCJ Committee of Episcopacy. The process of assigning bishops to their episcopal areas was difficult work, and yet the committee did this work thoughtfully and with prayer. Surveys were distributed in each area, with results compiled to highlight key initiatives and prioritize leadership characteristics most needed right now. Interview notes were also reviewed to understand strengths and passions each bishop brings to this season of ministry. All these steps lead to the careful discernment around where to assign our bishops. I am very excited about the bishop assigned to the DAK-MN area and look forward to joining together in ministry.”
Bishop Sally Dyck, in her sermon at the consecration service, charged the new bishops and the body to remember first and foremost their primary identity as a child of God. Everything else we have received, our certificates, ordinations, and consecrations are only tools to build up the body of Christ. Don’t dare let it be your identity.
“You were not elected to save the church,” she told the new bishops. “But what did Jesus do? He taught people to live and to love and to forgive and to share what had happened to them—how they had been healed, how they had been transformed through the power of God through him. And he built up his people. We get confused sometimes.” Dyck then recounted the story of St. Francis who heard God say “repair my church,” and went off to start putting rocks on top of one another. Then he realized what God was calling him to do was to bring new life to the church.
Dyck concluded, “yes, you are called to help inspire, and equip, and bring new life into our beloved United Methodist Church!”
Each bishop upon their consecration received a stole as a symbol of their servant ministry and a crosier as a symbol of their call to shepherd God’s people.
Here is the complete list of assignments for Jan. 1, 2023 to Aug. 31, 2024.
Dakotas-Minnesota Conferences: Bishop Lanette Plambeck
East Ohio Conference: Bishop Tracy Smith Malone
Illinois-Great Rivers Conference: Bishop Frank Beard
Indiana Conference: Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Iowa Conference: Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai
Michigan Conference: Bishop David Bard
Northern Illinois Conference: Bishop Dan Schwerin
West Ohio Conference: Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer
Wisconsin Conference: Bishop Hee-Soo JungRev. Cindy Gregorson is the director of connectional ministries and the clergy assistant to the bishop for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church