Martin McLee elected as bishop

July 19, 2012

By Alexx Wood*

The Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church has elected The Reverend Martin D. McLee as a bishop. With 135 votes needed for election, McLee, 56, was elected in the 21st ballot with 140 votes. Reverend McLee is currently serving as District Superintendent of the Metro Boston Hope District in the New England Conference.
Bishop Peter D. Weaver of the Boston Episcopal area introduced McLee with joy, saying he was truly “one who knows Jesus.”
Newly elected Bishop Martin McLee, with Bishop Weaver

Before any words would come, McLee broke into song with “I told Jesus it would be alright, if He changed my name,” adding at the end, “and on the 21st ballot – He changed my name.”

Addressing the body, Reverend McLee remarked “I give honor to God, in whom I live and have my being.”

After thanking the jurisdictional delegates for electing him, he thanked specifically the New England delegates. “I’ve been hanging out with some of the young folks on the delegation,” he said, “and I want to say, the New England delegation is ‘gangsta!’” which drew laughter from the crowd, prompting him to remark on his own style. “What you see is what you get,” he said. “But it comes clothed in Christ Jesus.”
Active in the denomination and the communities he serves, Reverend McLee is currently a member of the Adjunct faculty at Simmons College in the Graduate School of Social Work, serves on the Massachusetts Commission on Health Care Disparities, and is a former Director and Chair of the HIV/AIDS Committee of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston. He has served as delegate for the 2008 and 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is the former Senior Pastor of the historic Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s South End and served as an Associate Pastor at Dallas’ Hamilton Park United Methodist Church.
Reverend McLee has preached and lectured widely. He has preached at revival and regional ministry events in Brazil, South Africa and across the United States. He has presented at Sarah Lawrence University, at the Harvard University Chaplains Association’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service, at the Martha’s Vineyard Campground Association, at the Association for Practical Theology’s Biennial Conference, and before the New England Historical Association. In 2006, Reverend McLee won the Wilbur C. Ziegler Award for Preaching Excellence in the New England Conference.
Originally from New York City, he received a BA with Honors from Hunter College in NY. He has graduate degrees in Education and Theology from Fordham University and Southern Methodist University respectively, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.
Reverend McLee is conversant in French and Spanish and finds joy in sharing the Gospel, in building community and in effecting social change.
At the Friday morning session of the Jurisdictional Conference, it was announced that Bishop-elect McLee will serve in the New York Conference. The Consecration of Bishops service was held after the assignments at St. Mark's UMC in Charleston, WV. Appointments for Bishops in The United Methodist Church officially begin on September 1st.
*Alexx Wood is the Communications Director for the New England Conference.

For more news from the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, visit