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Resident Bishop, Iowa Annual Conference UMC
Bishop Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai was elected to the episcopacy by the North Central Jurisdiction in November 2022. She will be the resident bishop of the Iowa Area beginning in January 2023.
Before her election to Iowa, Bishop Bigham-Tsai was the Chief Connectional Ministries Officer for the Connectional Table, which is the visioning body of the United Methodist Church and the steward of resources to carry out that vision worldwide.
Before leading the Connectional Table, she served on its
board as a member of the Executive Committee and was the chair of its Leadership Discernment and Community Life Committee. She also has served as a General and Jurisdictional conference delegate or alternate since 2012 and, in 2022, was the co-chair of her delegation.
While serving in Michigan, Bigham-Tsai was the chair of the Board of Church and Society, and served on the Conference Leadership Team, Board of Ordained Ministry, and Conference Trustees. She has been active in justice issues, serving as a member of Black Methodists for Church Renewal and on the board of Justice for Our Neighbors.
Bishop Bigham-Tsai served local congregations in East Lansing and Kalamazoo, MI, bringing a pastor’s heart and strategic visioning to her appointments. She served as a conference district superintendent from 2015 - 2018.
Bishop Bigham-Tsai grew up in the Baptist church in Austin, Texas. She is the second oldest of five children in her family, and she credits her mother with helping her learn to preach by teaching her a love for words.
After earning a degree in sociology from Harvard University, Bigham-Tsai served in lay ministry with urban youth in the A.M.E. church in Boston and pursued a career in public relations and writing before responding to God’s call to professional ministry. She was ordained in The United Methodist Church in 2009.
Bishop Bigham-Tsai and her husband, Kee, have been married since 1994 and have two children, Keeton and Kamden, and a German Shepherd named Kylo. They are committed to a ministry of inclusion that begins at home.