LAKELAND – At last week’s Council of Bishops meeting in Berlin, Florida Bishop Ken Carter was elected president-designate for the council, which puts him in a position to assume the council presidency in 2018.
"I am humbled to be elected as president-designate of the Council of Bishops,” Carter said by email Monday. “This is a role that I will undertake alongside the work of serving an annual conference.”
The council’s president and president-designate each serve two-year terms. Carter will begin his term as president-designate in 2016 and work with newly elected President Bruce R. Ough, bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area.
"My calling will be to help the bishops, collectively, to live into the promises we have made as individuals, in order to strengthen our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Carter said. “This work is a part of my prayer, to seek the unity of the church, the faithfulness of the church and the fruitfulness of the church."
The council president presides over the group’s executive committee and semiannual council meetings and often takes a leading role in council initiatives. Though the council president does not speak for The United Methodist Church, he or she is sometimes called to comment on church teachings in mass communications in and outside of the denomination.
The United Methodist Council of Bishops is made up of all active and retired bishops in the church. There are 46 episcopal areas in the U.S. and 20 outside the U.S.
Carter was part of a slate of officers presented to the council for election by a two-thirds majority. An eight-member Leadership Discernment Committee, made up of one bishop from each of the five U.S. jurisdictions and three Central Conference bishops, presented the slate to the council.
Others elected last week are Bishop Cynthia Harvey of Louisiana, secretary; Bishop Christian Alsted, Nordic and Baltic areas, Connectional Table chairperson; Bishop Marcus Matthews of Washington, executive secretary; and Bishop B. Michael Watson of North Georgia, ecumenical officer.
Carter was elected bishop in July 2012 at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and began serving the Florida Conference in September that year. He previously had served as a senior pastor and district superintendent in the Western North Carolina Conference. He and his wife, Rev. Pam Carter, have two adult daughters.
"Pam and I are blessed to serve in Florida, and we welcome your prayers in this future calling,” the bishop said.
– Susan Green is the Florida Conference managing editor. Information from United Methodist Communications was included in this report.