On June 16, 2022, Bishop Scott J. Jones submitted a letter to the South Central Jurisdiction and the Council of Bishops requesting retirement from the active episcopacy effective Dec. 31, 2022.
In making this announcement, Bishop Jones updated his statement that said, “At as of today…I am willing to stay as bishop of the Texas Annual Conference for two more years.”
During the final day of the Texas Annual Conference session, held May 29 through June 1 at the Hilton Americas – Houston, Bishop Jones was met with a standing ovation and thunderous applause when he declared that he believed the Judicial Council Memorandum 1446 allied him to serve the Texas Annual Conference until 2024.
“I have a lot more that I intend to do for Christ,” Jones said during the Texas Annual Conference.
This announcement came as a surprise to most people due to a new ruling surrounding U.S. bishop retirement. Prior to this ruling, Bishop Jones, who had recently met the mandatory age of retirement, would be required to retire Aug. 31, 2022, or Dec. 31, 2022. With the instatement of Judicial Council Decision 1446, however, Bishop Jones was granted an extended timeline that could prolong his term until Aug. 31, 2024, if he so desired.
At the time of the Conference, Bishop Jones admitted that he had only had “65 minutes” to consider whether he would retire early or extend his session as bishop. He also admitted that he had recently made some lifestyle changes that could affect his decision to continue. One of those changes included relocating to Dallas with his wife in order to be closer to his grandchildren.
While Bishop Jones announced his intent to remain as bishop of the Texas Annual Conference, he made sure to emphasize his flexible position with the words “as of today.” In a letter to conference members announcing his updated decision to retire at the end of 2022, he referenced those words while also offering further reason for his change.
“Since the Judicial Council decision on June 1, I have prayed and thought a lot about my future,” said Bishop Jones. “Increasing disobedience and escalating conflict in the denomination have made my service as a bishop of the whole church seem much more problematic. My further reflection has led me to believe that my best service to Christ for the next two years is in retirement.”
Although Bishop Jones knows that changing bishops could have an impact on some people’s commitments to their local churches, he announced to the Texas Annual Conference that his deepest value is to go where the church sends him.
The decision to retire was not a quick or easy decision for Bishop Jones, and he notes that it involved a lot of prayer and discernment. In his letter, he expressed gratitude to the Conference for their constant support and for the blessing it was to serve in that capacity.
“We were humbled by the response of the Conference to our announcement that we were probably staying,” said Bishop Jones. “Mary Lou and I have been blessed to serve here, and we wish the Texas Annual Conference a most fruitful future for the Kingdom of God.”
Bishop Jones will continue serving through December 31, 2022. Delegates from the South Central Jurisdiction of United Methodist Church will elect new bishops from Nov. 2 through Nov. 5. The newly elected bishops and continuing bishops will then receive their assignments from the Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee. The assigned bishop to the Texas Annual Conference will then begin January 1, 2023.