Letter to South Central Jurisdiction Delegates

Letter to South Central Jurisdiction Delegates

Letter to South Central Jurisdiction Delegates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Contact: Eddie Erwin, Executive Director

February 12, 2024

To: Delegates of the South Central Jurisdiction
From: SCJ Episcopacy Committee

We are in a time of extraordinary change in our beloved UMC. We have weathered the storm of disaffiliations and are now, as a smaller church, exploring new opportunities and grappling with institutional adjustments. Amidst these changes, we maintain a strong and fervent faith in the work of the Holy Spirit. We trust in the promise of Ephesians 2, that we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone; in him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”

We believe in the future strength and fruitfulness of the churches of the South Central Jurisdiction. To be well positioned for the future, we need to make adjustments on every level of the church, including episcopal deployment.

We intend to recommend to the SCJ Conference that there be no election of bishops in 2024. This recommendation is informed by the high number of disaffiliations in our Jurisdiction, the changing landscape of the church, and the projected financial pressures on the episcopal fund.

Bishop Jimmy Nunn, currently serving the Oklahoma, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, and Northwest Texas annual conferences, has announced his intention to retire as of August 31, 2024. As a result, there will be seven active bishops in the SCJ available for assignment in the next quadrennium.

The 2024 General Conference could always act in a way that would change our thinking. But given what we know today, as we consider ministry affinities, geographic proximity, and relative annual conference strength, we intend to make the following recommendations to the 2024 SCJC regarding episcopal areas:

    1. One bishop assigned to the Arkansas Episcopal Area and the Oklahoma Episcopal Area (OK and OIMC annual conferences)
    2. One bishop assigned to the Dallas-Fort Worth Episcopal Area (Central Texas, North Texas, and Northwest Texas annual conferences or their successor)
    3. One bishop assigned to the Houston Episcopal Area (Texas Annual Conference)
    4. One bishop assigned to the Great Plains Episcopal Area
    5. One bishop assigned to the Louisiana Episcopal Area
    6. One bishop assigned to the Missouri Episcopal Area
    7. One bishop assigned to the New Mexico Episcopal Area and the Rio Texas Episcopal Area

We make these recommendations after extensive consultation with the SCJ college of bishops and in line with their recommendations to us. These recommendations as well as the specific bishops assigned to each area, will need to be voted on by the Jurisdictional Conference in July.

We wanted to make these recommendations public now so that delegates can digest and explore the possibilities and challenges they represent. This announcement also gives annual conference staffs and leadership as much lead time as possible to prepare for the new alignment. We realize this is just one step into the future and other configurations might best serve the church in 2028 and 2032.

We ask for your prayers going forward, for discernment, for hopefulness, for grace with one another as we serve Jesus together.

2024 SCJ Jurisdictional Conference

2024 SCJ Jurisdictional Conference

SCJ Jurisdictional Conference 2024

July 10-12, 2024

The 2024 South Central Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Conference
will be Hosted by the Arkansas Conference
at Central UMC in Rogers, AR. July 10-12, 2024

About Jurisdictional Conference

The quadrennial meeting of clergy and lay delegates from the annual conferences within the boundaries of one of five U.S. jurisdictions: North Central, Northeastern, South Central, Southeastern and Western. Jurisdictional Conferences convene every four years. The business includes the election and assignment of bishops.

SCJ Recognizes Significant Victories in Appeal

SCJ Recognizes Significant Victories in Appeal

The South Central Jurisdictional Conference Recognizes Significant Victories in Appeal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Contact: Eddie Erwin, Executive Director

Dallas, Texas – July 31, 2023 – The South Central Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church (the “Conference”) is pleased to announce that its legal status as Southern Methodist University’s controlling entity under Texas law has been upheld on appeal to Texas’ 5th Court of Appeals.

In December 2019, SMU filed amendments to its 1996 Articles of Incorporation without the Conference’s approval. The Conference claimed, among other claims, that SMU’s action violated longstanding, unambiguous provisions in SMU’s governing documents requiring that all such amendments have prior approval of the Conference. SMU’s conduct purported to strip the Conference of its rights guaranteed for over a century in SMU’s governing documents, including, but not limited to, rights to approve all amendments to SMU’s articles of incorporation, elect and remove members of SMU’s Board of Trustees, place a certain number of United Methodist Bishops on SMU’s Board of Trustees, and approve any sale or lease of campus property. The Court of Appeals rejected SMU’s position that it was unilaterally entitled to extinguish such rights. The
Court of Appeals also rejected SMU’s arguments that the Conference had no standing to sue SMU, no capacity to sue SMU, and no right to seek redress from SMU.

The Court of Appeals Opinion returns the lawsuit to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with the Opinion. The Conference looks forward to those proceedings with assurance that the harm to the Conference will be fully redressed and justice will be done.

We are grateful for the diligent efforts of our legal team and all those involved in presenting our case. The favorable decision on these specific items reinforces our commitment to upholding the values, principles, and mission of the Conference and The United Methodist Church.



Eddie Erwin, Executive Director

Bishop Robert Farr, Chair, Mission Council

Bishop Delores Williamston, President, College of Bishops

COB Approves Episcopal Supervision Recommendations for SCJ

COB Approves Episcopal Supervision Recommendations for SCJ

COB Approves Episcopal Supervision Recommendations for SCJ

June 3, 2021 – The Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church has approved episcopal supervision recommendations for the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ), due to the retirement of two bishops. The recommendations were made by the SCJ College of Bishops following consultation with the Jurisdictional and respective Annual Conference Committees on Episcopacy.

This follows decisions by Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe (Northwest Texas-New Mexico) and Bishop J. Michael Lowry (Central Texas) to request retirement effective January 1, 2022, under paragraph 408.2b of The Book of Discipline.

Under Paragraph ¶407 of the Book of Discipline, the Council of Bishops has authority to fill a vacancy for presidential/episcopal supervision of an episcopal area due to death, retirement (¶ 408.1, .2, .3), resignation (¶ 408.4), judicial procedure (¶ 2712), leave of absence (¶ 410.1), or medical leave (¶ 410.4).

After prayer and discernment, the bishops have approved the following recommendations for episcopal supervision:

  • Great Plains – Louise Niemann• Northwest Texas Conference: Bishop James G. Nunn (Oklahoma Conference/Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference)

  • New Mexico Conference: Bishop Robert C. Schnase (Rio Texas Conference)

  • Central Texas Conference: Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. (Great Plains Conference)

The new roles are effective January 1, 2022 and will continue until new bishops are elected in the SCJ. The SCJ Committee on Episcopacy will make the assignment of bishops once the new bishops are elected at the next regular session of Jurisdictional Conference.


SCJ United Women of Faith Officers

SCJ United Women of Faith Officers

SCJ United Women of Faith Officers


  • President – Ellen Lipsey
  • Vice President – Cynthia Alfred Logan
  • Secretary – Lynne Grandstaff
  • Treasurer – Carroll Constant
  • C.O.Nominations Chair – Lisa Maupin
  • Committee on Nominations:
    • Terry Gregory
    • Cynthia R. Harry
    • TBA
    • TBA
  • Central Texas – Darlene R Alfred
  • North Texas – Cynthia Rives
  • New Mexico – Daryl June Joe
  • Great Plains – Louise Niemann


  • Arkansas – Lynn Baker
  • Rio Texas – Cynthia Johnson