Cover photo for Bishop Sudarshana "Suda"  Devadhar's Obituary
Bishop Sudarshana "Suda"  Devadhar Profile Photo

Bishop Sudarshana "Suda" Devadhar

April 6, 1951 — July 18, 2023

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar age 72 of Cincinnati, OH, died unexpectedly on July 18, 2023, after nearly 20 years of faithful leadership as a bishop in The United Methodist Church. He retired on January 1, 2023.

He was born on April 6, 1951, in Mulki, India, to Egbert Plato and Rosebel (Jivothama) Fernandez, Suda held a B.Com. degree from Vijaya College, University of Mysore, Mulki, India; a B.D. degree from United Theological College,Bangalore, India; an M.Th. degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University; and a M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Drew University.

Suda was born into a clergy family and became a follower of God at a young age. His pastoral journey began as a Deacon at the Church of South India, in Mercara, Coorg, India. After coming to the United States, he served as pastor of the Moira, Brushton, and North Bangor United Methodist churches, and Canton United Methodist Church in the Upper New York Conference.

Bishop Violet Fisher appointed Suda to the Cabinet of the Upper New York Conference, where he served as District Superintendent of the Ontario District from 1996-2004 and was named Dean of the Cabinet in 2000. He was elected to the episcopacy in 2004. He served The Greater New Jersey Conference from 2004-2012, and The New England Conference from 2012-2022. Suda made history as the denominations first Indian-American bishop.

Embodying the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church, Suda served as chair of numerous denominational committees including the Leadership Team on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, Asian American Language Ministries, Northeastern Jurisdiction Board of Ordained Ministry, and the Moravian Dialogue. He also served on the Board of Trustees at Drew Theological School and Boston University School of Theology.

Suda had many passions, the first of which was his beloved family. He is survived by his constant ministry partner and wife of 46 years, Prema (Samartha) Devadhar; their daughter and son-inlaw, Trina and Gage Hemmelgarn; and three granddaughters, Nyla, Laili and Miana. Suda immensely enjoyed living near his family and cherished the time spent with his granddaughters, cheering them on from the sidelines as he attended their athletic events, no matter the distance.

He was also passionate about deepening the spiritualty of all people, but especially that of youth and young adults. He led numerous spiritual pilgrimages to Taizé, France, the Holy Land, Korea and through The Mission of Peace to India and China. These pilgrimages brought many young people to deeper and more intentional service in the church.

He exemplified servant leadership through his unyielding commitment to radical inclusiveness and his advocacy for justice. Suda's pastoral heart, deep spirituality and consistent prayer life was transformational. On multiple occasions he prophetically proclaimed, "I envision a Church of the Pentecost in which the Holy Spirit is igniting, gifting and empowering God's children of all ages, backgrounds, colors and personalities to glorify their Creator as passionate witnesses for Jesus Christ. Such a church does not merely serve the poor, the left out, the different, but welcomes them warmly into its hearts, homes, and worship."

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, will be remembered as a humble, gentle, kind, compassionate,
talented, devoted, loving "Follower of God."

A service to celebrate the life of Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar will be held in Cincinnati, OH at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, 1345 Grace Avenue on Thursday, July 27, 2023, at 11 am. There will be a viewing immediately preceding the service at 9 a.m. at the church. The family will receive condolences and greet guests immediately following the service.

Service will be live-streamed for those who will not be able to attend at http://hydeparkchurch.org. Guests are requested to participate in the reception following the service at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church and reminisce and reflect with those present.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The United Theological College of
Bangalore, India (his alma mater) or The Pastors Respite Fund of the New England Conference
(creation inspired by Bishop Suda's vision and care for clergy).

Contributions to The United Theological Fund of Bangalore, India, may be made to Grace Trinity United Church of Christ with United Theological College in the memo line and mailed to:

Grace-Trinity United Church of Christ
5200 Oxford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19124
You can also give online at https://gracetrinity.org .

Contributions to the Pastors Respite Fund of New England may be mailed to:

The United Methodist Foundation of New England
42 Route 111, Suite 200,
Derry, NH 03038

You may also donate online at https://www.umfne.org/pastors-respite-donation-form
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bishop Sudarshana "Suda" Devadhar, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, July 27, 2023

9:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church

1345 Grace Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45208

Please note that during the pre-service viewing at the church from 9 - 11, the immediate family members will not be present, but you are welcome to come and give thanks for the life and legacy of Bishop Devadhar. Following the service, there will be an opportunity in the church to pay final respects and greet the family.

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Service

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church

1345 Grace Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45208

Service will be live-streamed for those who will not be able to attend at http://hydeparkchurch.org . Guests are requested to participate in the reception following the service at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church and reminisce and reflect with those present.

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

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