Suggestions for congregational leaders and pastors when the Bishop visits your church
A Greeting from the Bishop
“I look forward to being with you and your congregation. One of my favorite things as a bishop is the opportunity to be in worship with our local United Methodist congregations throughout Indiana. I enjoy preaching, visiting with the people of the church, getting better acquainted with the pastor and staff, and participating in worship together. As we plan for my visit to your church, here are some things that I hope to be able to do: Visit with the pastor, get a tour of the building, walk through the sanctuary and clarify my role in the worship services, pray with the pastor and worship team before we lead worship, bring the sermon, offer the benediction to bless the congregation, and greet people after the services. I don’t need a flowery introduction or a lot of special treatment. Just let me participate in your normal worship experience, and I will bring a Good News message and also affirm your church and its ministry. I really do look forward to being with you and celebrating our connection in ministry together.”
– Bishop Mike Coyner
Arranging a Date for the Bishop to Visit
Invitations for the Bishop to visit your church should always be put into writing to the Bishop’s office, along with a description of the nature of the occasion, possible dates, and any other information which would be helpful. A copy of this invitation should be sent to the District Superintendent, because the Bishop normally confers with the Superintendents before accepting any invitations in their districts.
The Bishop wants to visit all different sizes of congregations for a variety of types of events. He also wants to circulate among all the districts on a regular basis. In addition, these considerations are taken into account when the Bishop responds to your invitation:
- The nature of the occasion
- Whether or not he has visited your church/community recently
- If the Bishop’s calendar permits accepting this invitation
Unfortunately the Bishop’s Sunday schedule is usually filled about 12-18 months in advance, so he may not be able to accept your invitation on the specific date you request. Your flexibility will be helpful. If you are tied to a specific date and the Bishop is unable to be present, other options include your District Superintendent or Rev. Cindy Reynolds, the Executive Assistant to the Bishop. Either of those persons can well represent the Bishop to your congregation.
The Bishop’s Office can provide you with an informational profile and a publicity photo of the Bishop for your local newspaper or church newsletter, if you request either of these for publicity about your event. Our office website includes a bulletin insert you can use ahead of time or on the day the Bishop is with you.
Please Send Directions
Please send specific directions (and a map) for the Bishop to use in finding your church.
When the Bishop Arrives
If parking is difficult at your church, you might reserve a place for the Bishop to park, or have someone available to direct him to a parking spot. The Bishop will want to visit with the pastor and discuss his role in the worship service, as well as touring the building and seeing the sanctuary. The Bishop also appreciates a time to pray with the pastor and the worship team prior to the start of the worship service.
If Marsha Coyner is able to accompany the Bishop to your church, you might consider having the pastor’s spouse or someone else assigned to sit with her. It also is nice if one of the worship leaders will introduce her during the worship service, so that people know she is present.
The Bishop will normally wear whatever robes or vestments are used in your worship. So please let our office know if he should bring a robe, what color, and what vestments or stoles will be appropriate. If you don’t normally robe for worship, then the Bishop will not wear a robe either.
The Bishop often begins his sermon from the pulpit, but he also prefers to use a wireless or lavaliere microphone to move around (if such is available). It is typical to have the Bishop seated on the chancel or platform with the pastor or other worship leaders. Please provide the Bishop with a hymnal, bulletin, or other worship materials needed. You might even have a glass of water available on the pulpit (bishops get thirsty, too).
The Worship Service
As you plan the worship service or other special occasion when the Bishop is to be present, please keep the following in mind: Avoid a long or flowery introduction, (you can use the bulletin insert provided on our website to give your congregation the necessary information about the Bishop), and if Marsha Coyner is present, please introduce her (briefly). Allow about 20 minutes for the Bishop to preach. Otherwise, use your normal worship service and have your normal worship team involved. The Bishop will want to fit into your worship service and to learn about your congregation.
Greeting the People
The Bishop will want to greet the people at the close of the service. Please have someone prepared to lead the Bishop (and his wife, Marsha, if she is present) to a spot for such a time of greeting.
The Bishop normally serves as the celebrant or presider for any sacramental acts to be done as part of any worship service or celebration, but he will want to share that with your pastor and to follow your customary style.
The Bishop usually gives the benediction in a worship service or other setting when he is present for an official visit.
A Reminder about Your District Superintendent
The District Superintendent is an extension of the office of the Bishop. When the Bishop and the Superintendent are both present, the DS will normally assist the Bishop and the Pastor with the service and any sacraments celebrated.
Download a bulletin insert with information about Bishop Coyner.