With bishops coming, there are bishops going. Four leaders currently serving the North Central Jurisdiction will soon move into retirement: Bishop Michael J. Coyner (Indiana); Bishop John L. Hopkins (East Ohio); Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton (Illinois Great Rivers); and Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey (Michigan).

Conference-produced videos prompted laughter, memories and reflection from the gathering. The gratitude and well wishes continued from colleague bishops, the NCJ Committee on the Episcopacy and others. Bishop Sharon Rader reminded the four, “No one ever retires from ministry. Continue to be true to your baptismal calling.” She thanked them for their servant leadership and added, “Never think lightly of the great good God has brought through you,” she continued. Between the four bishops, it was estimated that they had served a combined 72 years in episcopal ministry.

An offering was taken for Imagine No Malaria to be given to that global cause. Earlier in the afternoon Rev. Gary Henderson, INM champion, expressed gratitude to the North Central Jurisdiction for giving 23% of the total contributions to the initiative since the effort began in 2008.

Dr. Maggie Jackson, Chair of the Episcopacy Committee presented wooden boxes made beautiful by the lids made beautiful by the inlay of the NCJ map but also by the letters of remembrance they contained. “It is our turn to give to you,” she said. “We want you to know that you are special.” Jackson was thanked for her service. During the course of the 2016 Conference she had the privilege of welcoming each new bishop to his or her role and of thanking retirees on behalf of a grateful region.