Susan Wolfe Hassinger was elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church in 1996, and was assigned to the Boston Area, the New England Annual Conference. She is retiring from the responsibility as a residential bishop at the end of August 2004. Immediately prior to being elected as a bishop, Susan had been director of The Office of Resourcing for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. In that capacity she worked with congregations and church organizations of various sizes, settings, and racial/ethnic backgrounds in conflict transformation, visioning, team building, and congregational development. Her training, in addition to extensive work in conflict transformation, has included organizational development, family systems as applied to groups and organizations, anti-racism and white privilege, and leadership for change.
Bishop Hassinger has also facilitated groups, including the annual conference, in processes of decision-making in addition to or instead of parliamentary procedure. Her practice of spiritual discernment with individuals and groups draws on the “holy conferencing” of John Wesley, as well as such diverse perspectives as the Quaker clearness committee and the Ignatian spiritual exercises. Bishop Hassinger has been part of the design team and first president of JustPeace Center for Conflict Transformation and Mediation.
She has also served on a task force on Theological Education and Leadership Formation that included representatives of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools. That task force has produced a working document “A Wesleyan Vision for Theological Education and Leadership Formation for the 21st Century.” She has also been a part of a joint task force that produced a study on Holy Communion, “This Holy Mystery,” that was adopted by the 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.