News Details

October 05, 2015

Bishop Bickerton ’80 to Speak at Founders Day Convocation

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton ’80 is set to speak at West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Founders Day Convocation on Friday, October 16 at 3 p.m. in Wesley Chapel during the College’s Homecoming weekend.  Bickerton has been the spiritual leader of the nearly 830 United Methodist congregations in Western Pennsylvania since he was elected a Bishop in 2004. During the convocation, Bishop Bickerton will also receive the Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree.


In addition to his responsibilities in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, Bishop Bickerton serves as the chairperson of The United Methodist Church’s Global Health Initiative which deals with the church’s response to the killer diseases of HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malariaThis effort, through the church’s Imagine NO Malaria campaign, has raised over $67 million dollars within the denomination to eliminate malaria-related death across the world.  In addition to this work, Bishop Bickerton also serves as a member of the General Commission on United Methodist Men.

A native of West Virginia, Bishop Bickerton began his pastoral career as a student pastor serving a six-point charge.  He later was pastor of medium and large membership churches and was serving as Superintendent of the Northern District when he was elected as a bishop.  As he worked in partnership with laity, the churches he served experienced significant growth in the number of baptisms, professions of faith, and members. 

Bishop Bickerton’s life has been significantly shaped by involvement in ministry beyond the walls of the local church.  His work with Volunteer-in-Mission teams in his home state, as well as in Africa, Argentina, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Cuba, and the U. S. Gulf Coast, has given the Bishop a “true global perspective on the need to be in ministry to all of God’s children.”

Bishop Bickerton earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in sociology and psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1980, a Master’s of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School in 1983, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological School in 1994.  He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at United Theological School, teaching Wesleyan doctrine and United Methodist polity.  He is also the author of the upcoming book, What Are We Fighting For: Coming Together Around What Matters Most.  

For more information on additional Homecoming activities, please visit



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