McClellan withdraws as possible candidate for bishop

May 25, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011 
tparham@flumc.org  Orlando {0676}

NOTE: A headshot of the Rev. Dr. Geraldine McClellan is available at http://www.flumc.info/photo_gallery2.shtml.

An e-Review Feature
By Erik J. Alsgaard**

A Florida Conference district superintendent is encouraging United Methodists to lift up other African-American clergywomen for election as bishop instead of her right now.

Rev. Dr. Geraldine McClellan

The Rev. Dr. Geraldine McClellan, superintendent of the North Central District, based in Gainesville, issued a statement in mid-May saying she has been in constant prayer and discernment since being lifted up as a possible episcopal candidate at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Clergywomen’s Consultation last April.

“After much prayer, and waiting for God to speak to me in that still small voice, or to tap me on the shoulder, or even to shake me and say that you are my elect for such a time as this, this has not happened,” McClellan wrote. “With this, I am gracefully withdrawing before the election process begins.”

In her statement McClellan said God has continued to call her to be an advocate for Christ and his church within the Florida Conference, help strengthen small membership churches, and encourage and motivate laity and clergy to strengthen the African-American church.

The next episcopal elections in the Southeastern Jurisdiction will take place July 2008 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. Delegates to that conference are being elected at their respective annual conference events this summer.

McClellan also prays other African-American clergywomen who may be lifted up by their annual conferences would consider following the plan of action designed by a core group of African-American clergywomen: if one of the African-American nominees receives a majority of support the others would withdraw gracefully “so that God’s will be done.”

No African-American woman has been elected bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. In the denomination, three active bishops out of 69 worldwide are African-American and female: Bishops Violet Fisher of the Western New York Area, Linda Lee of the Wisconsin Area and Beverly Shamana of the California-Nevada Area. Bishop Leontine Kelly, now retired, was the first African-American woman elected bishop in the denomination, in 1984.

“I am humbled an honored that (the Rev.) Candace Lewis (New Life Community United Methodist Church in Jacksonville) would lift my name on more than one occasion for such a distinguished honor and that the Florida delegation and the SEJ clergywomen in attendance at the Consultation were all overwhelmingly supportive,” McClellan wrote. “I would hope and pray that my clergy sisters who believed I possessed the gifts and graces to serve as a General Superintendent in The United Methodist Church know how appreciative and humbled I will always be for your prayers and support.”
 
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This article relates to the Episcopacy/2007 Florida Annual Conference Event.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.


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