Bishop Lawson Bryan announces the projected appointment of one new District Superintendent to the Cabinet, effective June 2019.
Rev. Steve Patton, currently serving as senior pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica on St. Simons Island, will be appointed to serve as superintendent of the Northwest District. He succeeds 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. Patton 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.
“I am excited to have Steve join the cabinet,” Bishop Bryan said. “His thirty years of pastoral experience includes churches of all sizes, communities of great diversity, and a capacity to relate to a wide variety of people. His passion for preaching, church growth, and winning people to Jesus Christ will be a blessing to the district and the conference.”
Rev. Patton grew up in Jesup, Ga. and is a graduate of Wayne County High School, Emory University, and Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Amy, have three adult children, Jordan (Liz), Justin, and Hannah.
“I am deeply grateful and excited about the opportunity to serve the pastors and churches of the Northwest District,” Rev. Patton said. “Amy and I have great memories of living in this part of our great conference, where two of our three children were born. I look forward to seeing all that God has for us in the future as we move forward together in Christ.”
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. Henry Bass will complete his eight years of service on the Cabinet this June. Bishop Bryan will announce plans for the South Central District soon.
“As Buddy announces his retirement, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for his tireless commitment to the district and our conference,” said Bishop Bryan. “His deep love of Christ and for the people in the Northwest District and the South Georgia Conference is evident in all he does."
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.