South Central Jurisdiction Votes to Elect Three New Bishops and to Keep Arkansas Episcopacy Area Intact

November 2, 2022, Houston: First United Methodist Church – West Campus

The first official day of the South Central Jurisdiction Conference opened at First United Methodist Church – West campus in Houston, with a press conference for media by Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference. 

During the first voting session, the delegation approved the report from the SCJ Episcopacy Committee that allowed to elect three new Bishops (with a total of eight Bishops) and lets Arkansas keep its own Episcopal area intact with its own resident Bishop. 

In an unprecedented vote, the delegation elected three new Bishops in the very first vote. Rev. Dee Williamston of the Great Plains Conference received 141 votes. Rev. Laura Merrill of the Rio Texas Conference received 99 votes, and Rev. David Wilson of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference received 92 votes. In order to be elected, bishop-elects must receive 60% of the votes or 77 votes. 

It is speculated that this type of vote has not happened since the 1800s. 

With this historic vote also brings forth the first African American female (Rev. Dee Williamston) to be elected in the South Central Jurisdiction and the first Native American (Rev. Dr. David Wilson) in the history of the United Methodist Church. 

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