Sam Royappa has announced his candidacy for election as a United Methodist bishop, and has been endorsed by the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM). Rev. Royappa currently serves as the Director of Connectional Ministries. Elections of new bishops will occur during the North Central Jurisdiction Conference, July 13 – 16, 2016 at the Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois. Four of the currently serving bishops have announced their retirements following the 2016 Jurisdictional Conference: Michael Coyner (Indiana), John Hopkins (East Ohio), Jonathan Keaton (Illinois Great Rivers) and Deborah Kiesey (Michigan). Following the election of new bishops, assignments will be made for all newly elected and continuing NCJ bishops to the nine episcopal areas across the Upper Midwest. Assignments will be effective September 1 for the following four years.