Bishop R. Lawson Bryan, who was set to retire in September, will continue to serve as the episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference through 2021. This announcement comes from The Council of Bishops.
In an unprecedented move, The Council of Bishops has extended the retirement of five bishops until the postponed Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in November 2021. The five bishops extending their service are Bishop Bryan; Bishop Paul L. Leeland, episcopal leader of the Western North Carolina Conference; Bishop James Swanson, resident bishop of the Mississippi Conference; Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor, episcopal leader of the Holston Area; and Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, resident bishop of the North Carolina Conference, Raleigh Area.
The 2020 General Conference and the 2020 Jurisdictional Conferences have been postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus. General Conference is now set for Aug. 29 - Sept. 7, 2021, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minn. The SEJ Conference will be held Nov. 10-12, 2021, in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
“The continuity of leadership is important in this unprecedented time,” Bishop Bryan said. “I am grateful for the joy of serving the South Georgia Conference for the past four years and consider myself blessed to have this additional opportunity.”
Bill Hatcher, head of South Georgia’s General Conference laity delegation, is thankful Bishop Bryan has agreed to serve another year as South Georgia’s episcopal leader.
“There’s no question this is our best option,” Hatcher said. “He’s a strong, sound leader for all of South Georgia, and we are blessed to have him continue for this interim period. He knows our people, he knows our churches and lay people, he knows our clergy … this is the best solution we could possibly come to.”
As this announcement comes as the Church prepares for Pentecost, Bishop Bryan offers a prayer.
“It is not lost on me that this announcement comes as we are preparing for the festival of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit giving birth to the Christian Church. So I am offering a Pentecostal prayer: Come, Holy Spirit! Fill us with your mighty power that we might be Alive Together in Christ through worship, witness, and service.”