The Council of Bishops, in consultation with the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) and the respective Annual Conference Committees on Episcopacy, on May 14 announced projected episcopal assignments. Click here to read the published assignments.
Upon Bishop Lawson Bryan’s retirement and during the interim – from September 1, 2021, until new bishops can be elected at the next Jurisdictional Conference, projected to be held fall 2022 – Bishop David Graves, current episcopal leader of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, will provide episcopal leadership to both the South Georgia and the Alabama-West Florida Conferences.
“Because I love both South Georgia and Alabama-West Florida, I am excited about this coverage plan,” Bishop Bryan said. “Bishop Graves is a colleague whom I respect and appreciate.”
Under Paragraph ¶407 of the Book of Discipline, the Council of Bishops has authority to fill a vacancy for presidential/episcopal supervision of an episcopal area due to death, retirement (¶ 408.1, .2, .3), resignation (¶ 408.4), judicial procedure (¶ 2712), leave of absence (¶ 410.1), or medical leave (¶ 410.4).
After much prayer and discernment, the bishops have approved the following recommendations for episcopal supervision:
- Bishop Ken Carter as the resident bishop of Western North Carolina Conference (Charlotte Area), in addition to his role as resident bishop of Florida Conference (Florida Area).
- Bishop Leonard Fairley as resident bishop of North Carolina Conference (Raleigh area), in addition to his role as resident bishop of Kentucky Conference (Louisville Area).
- Bishop Debbie Wallace-Padgett as resident bishop of Holston Conference (Holston Area), in addition to her role as resident bishop of North Alabama Conference (Birmingham Area).
- Bishop David Graves as resident bishop of South Georgia Conference (South Georgia Area), in addition to his role as resident bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference (Alabama-West Florida Area).
The new roles are effective September 1, 2021, and will continue until new bishops are elected in the SEJ. The SEJ Committee on Episcopacy will make the assignment of bishops once the new bishops are elected.
“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference,” said Bishop Graves in a statement to the South Georgia Conference. “Nancy and I look forward to meeting you all in the coming months. The South Georgia Conference will continue to do great Kingdom work. I’m excited about focusing on mission and ministry and making an impact on this corner of the world.”
Bishop Graves was elected a bishop on July 13, 2016, and has served in the Alabama-West Florida Conference for five years
“It is good to see the collaboration that is happening between the Colleges and Committees on Episcopacy as they work together to determine the coverage that best fits the missional needs of the conferences involved,” said Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, President of the Council of Bishops.
“These are important in between times that call for collaboration and creative ways to ensure the ministry continues in the conferences,” she added.