Bishop announces two Cabinet appointments


Bishop Lawson Bryan has announced the projected appointments of two new District Superintendents to the Cabinet, effective June 2019.

Rev. Steve Patton will be appointed to serve as superintendent of the Northwest District and Rev. Paula Lewis will serve as superintendent of the South Central District.

Rev. Patton will succeed Dr. Buddy Cooper, who will retire at the 2019 Annual Conference session. Dr. Cooper has served on the South Georgia Cabinet for seven years. Rev. Henry Bass, current South Central District Superintendent, will retire at the 2019 Annual Conference session. Rev. Bass has served on the South Georgia Cabinet for eight years and will, in retirement, serve as Vice President for Church Relations for Magnolia Manor.

Rev. Patton currently serves as senior pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica on St. Simons Island. He has been a minister in the South Georgia Conference since 1987, serving pastorates in Newington, Leslie, Striplin Terrace in Columbus, Trinity in Waycross, and Pine Forest in Dublin. For the past five years, he has served as senior minister of Wesley at Frederica. He has served in leadership roles on the district and annual conference levels, including the Board of Ordained Ministry, Committee on Equitable Compensation, and Congregational Development.

Rev. Lewis currently serves as senior pastor of Hawkinsville First United Methodist Church, where she has served for the past three years. A graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, Rev. Lewis is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. She has previously served as Associate Minister at Tifton First and as senior pastor at Hartsfield/Burns Memorial Charge and Pinson Memorial UMC.

“I am excited to have Steve and Paula join the cabinet,” Bishop Bryan said. “They each have a passion for winning people to Jesus Christ and for connecting the church to the community. The Northwest District and the South Central District will greatly benefit from their leadership.”

Rev. David Thompson will continue as the Coastal District Superintendent, Dr. Rick Lanford will continue as the North Central Superintendent, Rev. Chris Ramsey will continue to serve as the Northeast District Superintendent, and Rev. Doreen Smalls will continue serving as the Southwest District Superintendent.

Bishop Bryan and the Appointive Cabinet continue their work to prayerfully discern the pastoral appointment changes. They will meet nearly weekly through April to make decisions and to prayerfully seek God’s guidance. Throughout the process, District Superintendents will continue to be in conversation with congregations and clergy as needed.

They began the appointment process by reviewing scripture and the disciplinary passages related to appointment making, Bishop Bryan said, studying the Church’s core values and praying for all of South Georgia’s churches and pastors.

“Thank you for your prayers for me and for the Cabinet as we fulfill our responsibilities in the appointment-making process,” Bishop Bryan said. “Our goal is to seek appointments that best enable our local churches and our clergy to be Alive Together in Christ.”

As they were last year, appointments will be released at the same time, to local churches on April 7 and later that afternoon to the public, via the Conference website.

All appointments are considered firm projections pending the official announcement at the conclusion of the Annual Conference session on June 5, in Columbus.

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