The commencement ceremony was recorded and streamed on Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m. ET.

View the 2023 Commencement program and order of worship.

Date: Saturday, May 20, 2023

Dayton Vineyard Church
4081 Indian Ripple Rd.
Beavercreek, OH 45440

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


  • 9:00 a.m. – Robing
  • 9:15 a.m. – Group Photos (sanctuary)
  • 10 a.m. – Noon – Commencement (sanctuary) (The ceremony will be live-streamed)
  • Noon – 1 pm – Reception and Refreshments


Robbie Collins
[email protected]

Doctor of Ministry:
Deanna York
[email protected]

Traveling from out of town? Here are some hotels in the area!

Commencement Speaker:

Thomas J. Bickerton was born in Glen Dale, West Virginia. He is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College (B.A. degree in Sociology/Psychology), a graduate of Duke University Divinity School (M.Div.), and a graduate of United Theological Seminary (D.Min.).

Tom was ordained elder in the West Virginia Annual Conference by Bishop William Boyd Grove in 1985. Following seminary, he served the Perry Memorial UMC in Shady Spring, West Virginia, for six years. During his time there the congregation grew from an average worship attendance of fifteen to one hundred fifty. He then spent the next nine years serving as the Senior Pastor of Forrest Burdette Memorial UMC in Hurricane, West Virginia. During his tenure there, the congregation grew from 575 members to nearly 1,400. In 1998, he became the District Superintendent of his home area, the Northern District. He had just begun his seventh year as District Superintendent when the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference elected him to the episcopacy in 2004.

Tom was first elected to Jurisdictional Conference at the age of 30 in 1988 and again in 1992. He was first elected to General Conference in 1996 and then to successive General Conferences in 2000 and 2004. He twice served as the Head of the West Virginia delegation. He served on the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (1976-1980), the General Commission on Archives & History (1980-1988), and the General Commission on United Methodist Communications (2000-2004).

He enjoys golf, movies, professional baseball/football, college basketball, and travel opportunities with his family.

Sally Forbes and Tom Bickerton were married on August 16, 2003. They have four children: Elizabeth Anne, Thomas James II (“T.J.”), Ian Robert, and Nicholas Bruce.


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