Following last week’s announcement of Rev. Steve Patton as superintendent of the Northwest District, Bishop Lawson Bryan announces the projected appointment of Rev. Paula Lewis as superintendent of the South Central District, effective June 2019.
Rev. Lewis, currently serving as senior pastor of Hawkinsville First United Methodist Church, will succeed Rev. Henry Bass, who 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.
A graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, Rev. Lewis is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. She and her husband, Scott, have four children, Aiden, Mondo, Mason, and Riley. Paula has previously served as Associate Minister at Tifton First and as senior pastor at Hartsfield/Burns Memorial Charge, Pinson Memorial, and for the past three years at Hawkinsville First.
“I am excited to have Paula joining the cabinet,” Bishop Bryan said. “She has been fruitful and effective in each of the local churches she has served. Paula is known as a strong preacher and teacher, and I celebrate the marked increase in professions of faith in the churches she has served.”
Prior to answering the call to ordained ministry, Rev. Lewis taught school for seven years. She left teaching to become the Director of Outreach and Discipleship at a church for three years. While there, she served on the board for Hands-On-Thomas County, a non-profit that connects local citizens with volunteer opportunities in their community. Rev. Lewis also served as the president for We Care For The Poor International, a mission group that runs a school and medical mission trips in Haiti. As the group’s president, she helped lay the foundation for Family Promise of Tift Area, an interfaith hospitality network that works to address the problem of children and their families who are homeless. Rev. Lewis also co-founded an annual Hands-On-Tifton Day.
“Paula’s passion for connecting the church to the community will find expression in the ‘district missional strategist’ role of a district superintendent,” Bishop Bryan said. “Paula is an example of the cadre of emerging conference leaders with whom the South Georgia Conference is richly blessed.”
Rev. Lewis has also served in leadership roles on the district and annual conference levels, including the Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, the North Central District Leadership Team and District Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors for Georgia Pastors’ School, Clergy Coordinator in the Southwest District, and on South Georgia’s Commission on the Status and Role of Women. She has also served as chair of the North Central District Board of Missions.
“I am grateful and humbled for the opportunity to serve the South Georgia Conference and the pastors and churches of the South Central District in this new role,” Rev. Lewis said. “My family and I are excited to be returning to this area where we have wonderful memories of service. I can hardly wait to see where God will lead us.”
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. Rev. Steve Patton will succeed the retiring Dr. Buddy Cooper as superintendent of the Northwest District.
“I want to take this opportunity to express how thankful I am for Henry’s dedication to this annual conference,” Bishop Bryan said. “Henry’s winsome spirit will continue to bless South Georgia as he enters his new role as Vice-President for Church Relations for Magnolia Manor.