Deborah Kiesey Assigned to Michigan Area

by Paul Thomas, Director of Communications
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Bishop Deborah Kiesey


(since the creation of The United Methodist Church in 1969)
*Dwight E. Loder - 1969-1976
*Edsel A. Ammons - 1976-1984
*Judith Craig - 1984-1992
*Donald A. Ott - 1992-2000
*Linda Lee - 2000-2004
Jonathan D. Keaton - 2004-2012
Deborah Kiesey - 2012-
*-first episcopal assignment
AKRON, OHIO -- The North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy announced today (Thursday, July 19) that Dakotas Area Bishop Deborah Kiesey has been assigned to serve as the resident bishop in the Michigan Area, effective September 1, 2012. Kiesey follows Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton, who was assigned to the Illinois Area, which contains the Illinois-Great Rivers Conference. Keaton has served the Michigan Area, which consists of the Detroit and West Michigan Conferences, since 2004.
[Watch video of Kiesey talking about being assigned to the Michigan Area.]
Kiesey was elected to the episcopacy in 2004 and appointed to the Dakotas Area. Prior to her election, she served three years as superintendent of the Waterloo District in the Iowa Conference. Kiesey served Richland/Ollie UMCs. Washington UMC, Mt. Pleasant UMC, and Iowa City UMC before being selected to serve as a superintendent. She also served as a delegate to General Conference in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004, and was the first-elected clergy from the Iowa Conference on four occasions. 
Kiesey attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, where she graduated with honors in 1973 with a double major in Religion and Piano Performance.  She was named Outstanding Alumna of the Year for Morningside College in 2004. She first felt a calling to the ordained ministry while a student at Boston University School of Theology and earned her Masters of Divinity degree there in 1976.
Upon her return to Iowa, she married D. Bradley Kiesey, an attorney from Washington, Iowa.  They have been blessed with two adult sons, Joel and Aaron.
Kiesey was ordained Deacon in 1974 and Elder in 1977.
Kiesey is the second consecutive experienced bishop to be assigned to the Michigan Area. Prior to Keaton coming to Michigan in 2004, every bishop appointed to the area since the creation of The United Methodist Church in 1969 had been a bishop in his/her first episcopal assignment. 
Keaton will serve the remaining four years of his episcopal tenure in the Illinois Area, where he follows Bishop Gregory Palmer. Keaton expects to retire in 2016.
[Watch video of Keaton reflecting on his time as bishop of the Michigan Area.]
Two gatherings have been scheduled to celebrate the ministry of Bishop Keaton in the Michigan Area. On Saturday, Aug. 25, a reception will take place from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at St. Ignace UMC in St. Ignace, Mich., while on Sunday, Aug. 26, a celebration will be held from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at Redeemer UMC in DeWitt, Mich.
Welcome celebrations for Bishop Kiesey are tentatively scheduled for Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 13-14. More information about the locations and times of the gatherings will be available in the near future.
The jurisdictional episcopacy committee also announced the assignments for the jurisdiction's other bishops. Bishop Michael Coyner (Indiana Area) and Bishop John Hopkins (Ohio East Area) will serve third terms in their respective areas, while Bishop Julius Trimble will remain in the Iowa Area for a second term. Bishop Sally Dyck will move to the Chicago Area (Northern Illinois Conference) after serving two terms in the Minnesota Area, while Bishop Hee-Soo Jung will relocate to the Wisconsin Area after two terms in the Chicago Area. Bishop Bruce Ough, who served three terms in the Ohio West Area, will serve the newly created Dakotas-Minnesota Area, while Bishop Palmer, after one term in the Illinois Area (Illinois-Great Rivers Conference), will move to the Ohio West Area. 
The jurisdictional conference did not elect a bishop this year due to the reduction of an episcopal area. The Dakotas and Minnesota Areas were combined to form a single Dakotas-Minnesota Area. Only one bishop, Wisconsin Area Bishop Linda Lee, is retiring, leaving nine active bishops to be assigned to nine episcopal areas.  
The episcopal announcements were one of the main items of business for the 2012 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, a quadrennial gathering of United Methodists from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Over 220 delegates from 11 conferences are attending the event, which is being held at the John. S. Knight Center in downtown Akron.


1. MJ Jewell wrote on 7/19/2012 6:28:18 PM
Welcome Bishop Kiesey to the Michigan Area!!
2. Nancy Frank wrote on 7/19/2012 7:16:25 PM
Welcome Bishop Kiesey to the Michigan Area!
3. Norma Bawtinheimer wrote on 7/19/2012 7:28:50 PM
Welcome Bishop Kiesey.
4. Sue Buxton wrote on 7/19/2012 8:56:46 PM
Welcome to Bishop Kiesey. I look forward to our members meeting her very gracious person.
5. Pastor Pat Robbins. F.L.P. wrote on 7/20/2012 7:32:17 AM
I will miss Bishop Keaton, I will welcome Bishop Kiesey , God is working in the United Methodist Church, praise His Holy name.
6. Karen Robbins wrote on 7/20/2012 5:47:59 PM
I will miss Bishop Keaton also. Wish him all the best at his new appointment. Welcome Bishop Kiesey to the DAC and WMC family!
7. William Reese, Jr. wrote on 7/22/2012 7:39:29 PM
Welcome to the Great Lakes State and we are happy to have you!!
8. Jack Harnish wrote on 7/25/2012 3:25:57 PM
We welcome her refreshing vitality, her warm spirit and her radiant joy--what a gift to Michigan!
9. Claudia Lee wrote on 8/6/2012 7:44:37 PM
Welcome Bishop Deborah Kiesey to the Michigan Area !
10. Paul Donelson wrote on 8/14/2012 10:13:42 AM
Wow! What a privilege for us to get Bishop Kiesey as our bishop! Years ago, when I was the pastor of a church in Strawberry Point, Iowa, I remember working with her brother, Mark, and her father, Lyle -- both respected fellow UM pastors. She has a lot to offer our conferences.
11. steve humphrey wrote on 2/8/2013 8:34:06 PM
Dear Bishop Kiesey, I don't know if it's the UMC way or your way, but I think removing Rev. Woolley from Newburg UMC is wrong and a mistake. She made that church what it is after a long hiatus between Rev. Ritter and the present. Maybe you're just following orders, but someone made a big mistake. Thankyou Steve Humphrey Newburg UMC