Bishop Matthews Meets Wyoming Clergy and Laity


Bishop Marcus Matthews joined Bishop Susan Hassinger on a tour of the Oneonta and Binghamton Districts this week. On each district, the bishops held gatherings with clergy or lay people. The gatherings were part of a trip through the Albany Episcopal Area that began with gatherings in the Troy Conference earlier in the week. When the Wyoming and Troy conferences join with North Central New York and Western New York conferences next July to become the Upper New York Annual Conference, Bishop Matthews will serve as their episcopal leader.

The bishops met Tuesday, October 20 with laity at the Elm Park United Methodist Church in Oneonta. The next morning, they spoke with clergy at Afton United Methodist Church. From there, they traveled to the Owego United Methodist Church for a gathering of laity Wednesday evening, followed by a stop at Vestal Center United Methodist Church where they met with clergy on Thursday morning. The tour ended with a visit to the Wyoming Conference Center and a lunch meeting with members of the conference staff.

At each location, Bishops Hassinger and Matthews participated in worship with those gathered. They then led brief discussions about the process underway in the formation of the new annual conference, followed by an opportunity for people to get to know a bit about the man who will soon be their bishop.

Bishop Matthews was born and reared in Florence, South Carolina.  He talked about his youth at home and the church where he grew up.  His Uncle Bubba was his role model after his father died. He talked about the many people from his hometown church who influenced his life and who have become pastors or other leaders in the church.

At the clergy gatherings, he asked pastors to join him in offering prayers for the new conference and for those taking part in its creation each morning as part of their daily prayer life. He then responded to questions about what pastors can expect under his leadership.

Bishop Matthews is looking forward to the new conference and seemed excited about meeting and working with everyone.

A photo album of the bishops' visit can be seen by clicking here.