After more than a decade of serving as Bishop, Robert E. Hayes, Jr. retired.
Bishop James Nunn took over for Bishop Hayes in the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference.
Bishop Hayes retired in September after serving for 12 years. Bishops are appointed on a four-year rotation, and generally do not serve more than eight years. Hayes knew he wanted to retire after 12 years, however, and was granted permission to serve for 12 years.
Laura Jardine, biology junior, said Hayes is well-loved and respected in the United Methodist Church and students have fond memories of his leadership.
“I think the Oklahoma Conference fell in love with him because he was so present,” she said. “He made it to hundreds of services and events every year and was never lacking in laughter, warmth or energy.”
Nunn hails from Texas, where he was the Northwest Texas conference director of mission and administration and church development. He helped start new churches and was adamant about mentoring.
Elizabeth Horton-Ware, director of religious life, said she does not think anybody needs to worry about the transition, but that it is a period of change, which always comes with anxiety.
“If his goals have been in the past to develop young leaders, I think the students here that are involved with the Methodist church are exactly the kind of people that he’s going to want to know and to care for,” she said.
Bishop Nunn was unavailable for comment on Oct. 3.