Bishop Harvey makes history as first Hispanic woman to be Council of Bishops President

May 5, 2020

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Area has made history by becoming the first Hispanic woman to be president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church.  She is also the first woman of color to lead the more than 128 active and retired bishops of the one of the largest denominations in the world.

Bishop Harvey assumed the mantle of office last week as the active and retired bishops from around the globe gathered in a virtual meeting April 29 to May 1 to celebrate new leadership and to discuss plans for episcopal supervision brought on by the disruptions and postponements due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

"I pray that I might lead with the knowledge that we are intricately connected," said Bishop Harvey in her message after taking office. "We are a web of interactive relationships. Our connection has never been more critical. I pray I will lead with integrity, accountability, compassion, love, and grace for all."

She reflected on the shutdown brought by COVID-19.  “The question of when we resume in-person worship is paramount for everyone. The recognition that the learning curve has been steep on every corner of the planet is undeniable.  As bishops, we believe our churches are entrusted with the responsibility to care for our neighbor.  We believe that the greatest expression of love for our neighbor has to be our priority,” she said. 

Bishop Harvey follows Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Area, who had led the Council of Bishops (COB) since 2018.  Bishop Harvey, who has served as president-designate since 2018, was elected president at the November 2019 meeting of the bishops.