Inviting the Bishop To Your Church
What is the process to extend an invitation to the Bishop?
Bishop Farr regularly preaches and teaches in the United Methodist congregations in Missouri. If you would like to invite him to speak at your church, please send a letter to the Bishop’s Executive Assistant, with a copy to your District Superintendent. Please offer two or three alternative dates and describe the nature of the event. Since the Bishop’s calendar is often fixed six to 12 months in advance, please prepare the invitation far in advance of your event.
The Bishop’s ability to accept the invitation and to attend the event depends upon the nature of the event, the availability of the date, and the desire to balance commitments across the entire conference. Bishop Farr gives priority to preaching and teaching in congregations that celebrate new ministry initiatives and expansions.
Occasionally, the Bishop’s office will suggest an alternative speaker or guest to represent the bishop and to speak on his behalf, such as the Assistant to the Bishop, the District Superintendent, or a Conference Director.
How do we plan for the Bishop’s visit?
After the invitation has been accepted and as the date of the event approaches, please contact the Executive Assistant regarding details such as the service times, locations, etc. If a tentative bulletin is available, please forward it to the Bishop’s office. Please provide a map or special instructions for driving if these are necessary.
Bishop Farr is comfortable leading worship in a variety of styles and in a manner appropriate to your services, either wearing more casual wear, a suit and tie, or a robe and stole depending upon your congregation’s usual practices. Please advise the Bishop in advance about where he will enter, stand, sit, and at what points he will participate in the service.
The Bishop prefers to follow local custom and practice rather than formal protocols. However, if worship leaders regularly enter and leave worship by processional and recessional, the Bishop is the last to enter and the first to leave. If the Sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated, the Bishop participates in presiding. Typically, the Bishop is invited to give the benediction.
When introducing the Bishop, please keep remarks short and simple. If the Bishop’s wife, Susan, is present, please recognize her for the congregation. It is common practice for the District Superintendent to introduce the Bishop.
How can we provide hospitality for the Bishop?
Arrival at the Church
Due to the Bishop’s schedule, he may arrive near the starting time for your worship service or special event. Ordinarily the Bishop prefers to park wherever church members regularly park, and so the church does not need to designate special parking for the Bishop unless parking is extremely limited or remote. The Bishop usually prefers a quiet place, such as the pastor’s office, to prepare for worship before the service begins.
Meeting People, Receiving Lines, and Meals
The Bishop looks forward to meeting members of the congregation following the service. Decide in advance where the Bishop should stand for any greeting or receiving lines, and have someone escort him to the place where he can meet people. Often the Bishop’s schedule does not allow him to remain after a service for lunch or dinner, but he does enjoy staying for meals and receptions in order to greet the people of the congregation and learn more about community. Please aid him in graciously taking leave when it is time to go.
How do we respond if the Bishop arrives unannounced?
Occasionally, Bishop Farr attends worship services or events at churches unannounced. If you notice him present, please continue to offer the ministry and service you had planned. You do not have to change anything because of the Bishop’s presence. It may be appropriate to recognize him and briefly introduce him.
District Superintendents are representatives of the Bishop in congregations. Please provide the same courtesies when hosting a visit from your District Superintendent.
Still have questions?
For further information, you may contact:
3601 Amron Court, Columbia, MO 65202