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The bishop is elected to serve the church as an overseer. This ordained minister functions as a teacher and defender of the faith, a general shepherd, a pastor to the pastors, and an administrator who by good example and faithful application of The Manual assures the order of the church. The bishop is to inspire the church by preaching and being an example of one who carries out Christ’s great commission.

As the national pastoral leader and chief executive officer of The Free Methodist Church in Canada, the bishop’s ministry of leadership encompasses spiritual, governance, administrative and representative dimensions. Overseeing a broad range of persons, teams and activities, the primary responsibilities of the bishop include the development of the spiritual vitality, the administrative effectiveness and the strategic direction of the national church. As chair of the general conference and chief executive officer of The Free
Methodist Church in Canada and national leadership team, the bishop guides in the creation of vision and mission for the church today and in the future, leading to the growth and development of the church in Canada. The board of administration is responsible to ensure that a more detailed job description is kept current.

Process for the Election of a Bishop

A bishop will normally indicate to the board of administration no later than six months in advance of a general conference if he/she does not intend to stand for re-election.

When a bishop declines to stand for re-election or when it otherwise becomes necessary to elect a bishop, the following process will be followed:

1) A bishop’s search committee of no less than four persons will be elected by the board of administration.
2) The search committee will survey all lay/ministerial delegates of the general conference for
“suggestions” of Free Methodist ordained ministers to be considered.
3) The search committee will process the suggestions and from a short list, identify not more than three candidates to nominate for election.
4) The nomination(s) will be submitted to the general conference for election. To be elected an ordained minister must receive at least a majority vote.
5) The election shall be completed prior to the meeting of the general conference by a deadline set by the board of administration.
6) The board of administration shall ensure that there is a method to confidentially receive and record votes from the lay/ministerial delegates of the general conference.
7) The results of the election will be reported to lay/pastoral delegates of the general conference.
8) The incumbent bishop will provide orientation to the bishop-elect in the months prior to the meeting of the general conference.
9) The bishop-elect will normally be consecrated when the general conference meets or, if necessary, at another time arranged by the board of administration. He/she will not be employed by the general conference until he/she has been consecrated.
10) The bishop-elect assumes office at the conclusion of his/her consecration.

If the bishop’s office is vacated within six months prior to a general conference, it shall be left vacant for the ensuing general conference to fill.

Bishops shall be amenable to the conference for their character and for the discharge of the duties. They shall report at least annually to the board of administration on the state of the work.

When bishops or former bishops retire, they shall be given the title of Bishop Emeritus provided they have served the church as bishop for a minimum of six years.

The title of Bishop Emeritus may, due to extenuating circumstances as verified by the conference Ministerial Education Guidance and Placement committee, be granted, reviewed and/or adjusted by the Board of Administration.

The salary of a bishop shall be raised in the CORE budget. The management committee (with input from the personnel committee) has authority to establish the salary of the bishop. Upon retirement the bishop shall receive a pension in accordance with the Ministers Pension Plan of The Free Methodist Church in Canada.