Central Texas Bishop Mike Lowry to retire on Jan. 1
FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church has announced that he will retire from the episcopacy effective January 1, 2022. Bishop Lowry, who will enter into Vocational Retirement as defined in ¶408.2b in the 2016 UMC Book of Discipline, is the longest tenured episcopal leader in the history of the Fort Worth Episcopal Area having served as bishop of the Central Texas Conference since his election to the episcopacy in 2008.
“It has been my joy, privilege and honor to serve as an active bishop in the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church since my election to the episcopacy on July 18, 2008,” stated Bishop Lowry. “I have been doubly blessed to serve as the resident bishop of the Central Texas Conference in the Fort Worth Episcopal Area for the past 12 and a half years. Both Jolynn and I have come to love the Central Texas Conference and the Fort Worth Area. With the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus, we ‘don’t stop giving thanks to God for you when I remember you in my prayers.’
“As the oft-quoted passage from Ecclesiastes [3:1] states, ‘There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens.’ I believe the time is approaching for me to leave the active episcopacy in The United Methodist Church,” continued Bishop Lowry. “I look forward with eager anticipation to continued service to Lord and to Christ’s church universal through service as Bishop in Residence at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio (one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries). I also look forward with joyous anticipation spending more time with my bride Jolynn and chasing our grandchildren Grace (8), Simon (5), Sam (5), and Adam (3) - or maybe it is better said ‘getting run down by Grace, Simon, Sam and Adam!’”
When asked how he planned to wind down his time as bishop of the Central Texas Conference, Bishop Lowry said that his focus on his last day will be the same as on his first day – keeping Christ at the center, empowering local churches and identifying and developing clergy and lay leadership. “I have not retired yet! That will come at the end of December this year. Both as an active bishop and in a vocational retired status, the commission of the Risen Christ towers before me,” Bishop Lowry responded. “Our mission and Wildly Important Goal of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world has been my focus, my reason for every decision since my first days as your bishop, and it will remain my ardent commitment in the next phase of my life and ministry.”
Episcopal Coverage in the CTC as of Jan. 1
Because a new or permanent bishop cannot be assigned to the Central Texas Conference until a duly held meeting of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference (SCJ) is convened, the Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church has the duty of providing episcopal coverage for the conference according to ¶407 of the UMC Book of Discipline. The COB will provide coverage based on a nomination from the active bishops of the SCJ College of Bishops following consultation with the jurisdictional and annual conference committees on the episcopacy and the cabinet. Though it is anticipated to be sometime this summer, currently there is no official timetable for when or who the Council of Bishops will announce as the bishop to cover the episcopal duties for the conference until a permanent bishop can be assigned. The 14th session of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, which was originally scheduled for July 2020, is now tentatively scheduled to convene sometime in the fall/winter of 2022 following the announced Aug. 29 to Sept. 6, 2022 meeting of the Postponed-2020 General Conference. As such, it is anticipated that whomever the COB selects to provide episcopal coverage for the Central Texas Conference will do so until Jan. 1, 2023.
Whomever the Council of Bishops selects, Bishop Lowry is confident that the next bishop of the Central Texas Conference will encounter the same gracious reception that he and Mrs. Lowry received. He also believes that the Central Texas Conference will be enhanced and blessed by the vision and faithfulness of the incoming bishop. “When she or he assumes the position, they too will experience the presence of the Lord in place in our conference,” asserted Bishop Lowry. “I also believe that through it all, the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28 will remain the central calling of God upon the Central Texas Conference.
“Together, in the remaining seven and a half months, let us reach out in love, mercy and justice to serve both the Lord and His Church in faithfulness and fruitfulness.”
Please watch the conference website (ctcumc.org) for more details on Bishop Lowry’s retirement, retirement celebrations and episcopal coverage of the conference as they become available.
-- J. Vance Morton
Director of communications
Central Texas Conference