A Letter From the President of the NEJ College of Bishops

A Letter From the President of the NEJ College of Bishops


To our beloved friends in the Northeastern Jurisdiction Conference of The United Methodist Church:

On behalf of my colleagues in the NEJ College of Bishops, please accept our sincere condolences on the passing of the Resident Bishop of New York Annual Conference and our beloved colleague, Bishop Martin McLee. We are praying that God’s comforting arms will encompass the NEJ and the McLee’s family. We are also praying that God’s grace will provide you with the strength needed at this time of bereavement.

The pain, the grief, and the feelings of helplessness can seem unbearable. At times such as these, we need to go to God’s Word for comfort.  Jesus knew the pain of losing someone in death, his friend Lazarus. The Bible tells us that Jesus joined Lazarus’ relatives and friends as they grieved over this loss. Seeing them, Jesus was deeply moved. He “groaned in the spirit and became troubled.” Then, as we know very well, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:33, 35) Even though Jesus knew that he was about to resurrect Lazarus, he  still felt the pain and sorrow that death brings. That is why we are in mourning over Bishop McLee’s life. Not that we have no hope of seeing him again, but because we feel the pain of his absence from this earthly existence.

We mourn because we know that Bishop McLee cared for the church and was God’s champion for millions of marginalized people in the NEJ and throughout the world. Through his work with those who remained on the margins of society and the church, Bishop McLee embodied our call to serve all of God’s people.

Yet we know that a life in Christ does not end when the earthly journey is over. Just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, we are reminded of Jesus’ promise: “I am the resurrection and I am life; those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25)  So we are asking God to shower you with love that would sustain you and offer comfort as your remember our dear Bishop and colleague.

For those who are able, we are asking that you join us in the celebration of the life and resurrection of Bishop McLee at The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, at 11 a.m. on Monday, September 15th. Visitation will precede the funeral from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we continue to lift the people of NEJ and the McLee family in our prayers.

In Christ’s victory,
Bishop Marcus Matthews
Resident Bishop - Washington Area
President - NEJ College of Bishops