Cynthia Moore-Koikoi Elected Bishop
Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, a district super intendent in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, was elected as a bishop of The United Methodist Church Wednesday evening, July 13, during the 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference in Lancaster, Pa.
Her election came on the 11th ballot. She received 108 votes, a percentage of 64.29%.
The daughter of a retired United Methodist pastor, she grew up in the church, worked for 17 years as a school psychologist, and was ordained as an Elder in 2010. She has served as a student pastor at St. Matthews UMC in Highlandtown, Md.; an associate pastor at Calvary UMC in Annapolis, Md.; a Discipler Guide, resourcing local churches; and as a superintendent of the Greater Washington and Baltimore Metropolitan districts.
She also serves as chair of the conference’s Unified Funding Task Force, which oversees loans and grants, and as the Cabinet’s spiritual director.
Moore-Koikoi says she sees the work of bishops as “overseeing the work of the church, working prophetically,
Evangelically,and apostolically with all as they cooperate with the Grace of God.” A key component of that, she believes, is leaving space for the transforming movement of the Holy Spirit, especially at this time in the life of the church when the denomination is divided and many people may be wondering about what the future might hold.
“That’s spiritual work, remembering who God is and who God has called us to be,” she said. “We got God, so we got this.”
Moore-Koikoi sees herself, she said, “as a bridge-builder,” clear and confident about what she believes, while also respecting others who might not believe the same way. Growing up as an African-American woman in an often discriminatory culture and church, Moore-Koikooi believes she has a unique voice. “As a woman of color, I have learned the gift of perseverance,” she said, “being able to hold onto hope in the midst of oppression.” Our denomination needs that,” said Moore-Koikoi. “As our pews become emptier, as we experience more financial difficulties, we have to hold out hope. I’ve had to use my spiritual eyes.”
Her vision is one of a diverse church that embraces justice and the life-saving love of Christ. When she was a child, she listened to her preacher father. He taught her the 139th Psalm, “especially the beautifully and wonderfully made part.” As a new bishop, it’s a vision of the church she’s committed to work for. It won’t be easy, and the “awesome responsibility” has her feeling a little scared. “But I remind myself, God has got this. God is in control,” she said. “My role and the church’s role is to experience the reign of God here on earth and point that out to people.”
Editor’s Note: This information originally appeared in the Daily Christion Advocate Volume 20, Issue 5, Thursday, July 15, 2016.