At a meeting of the Council of Bishops on May 2, in Berlin, Germany, Bishop B. Michael Watson was elected Ecumenical Officer of the Council of Bishops.
"I have prayerfully decided to accept this election and to retire as an active Residential Bishop at the end of the present quadrennium," said Bishop Watson.
"My years serving as the Residential Bishop in both the North and South Georgia conferences have blessed my life immensely. Margaret and I are, and will always remain, most grateful to God and to all of you for loving us and allowing us the high and holy privilege of serving Christ here in Georgia for 16 years," he said.
Bishop Watson will continue to serve as the active Resident Bishop in North Georgia until August 31, 2016. The Watsons will then relocate to Birmingham, AL. Bishop Watson will work from Birmingham, and out of the United Methodist Church Council of Bishops offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.
The Council of Bishops is made up of all active and retired bishops of The United Methodist Church. The Ecumenical Officer is one of two staff positions of the Council. The commitment is for a four-year term.
All new officers of the Council are:
President – Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area
President designate – Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr., Florida Episcopal Area
Secretary - Bishop Cynthia Harvey, Louisiana Episcopal Area (re-elected for two years)
Connectional Table chairperson - Bishop Christian Alsted, Nordic and Baltic Episcopal Area
Executive secretary – Bishop Marcus Matthews, Washington Episcopal Area
Ecumenical officer – Bishop B. Michael Watson, North Georgia Episcopal Area
The ecumenical officer, executive secretary and chair of the Connectional Table each serve four-year terms. The president, president-designate and secretary serve two-year terms, which begin on the third day of the General Conference.