The Rev. Dr. Debbie Wallace-Padgett of Kentucky was one of five newly elected bishops consecrated at a service on the closing day of the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. The Conference took place July 18-20 at Lake Junaluska, NC. The four other new bishops of the SEJ are Jonathan Holston from the North Georgia Conference, Kenneth Carter, Jr. from the Western North Carolina Conference, Bill McAlilly from the Mississippi Conference, and Young Jin Cho from the Virginia Conference.
Kentucky Conference Bishop Lindsey Davis and Virginia Conference Bishop Charlene Kammerer led the service. They also presented the newly consecrated bishops with stoles and Bibles.
Bishop Al Gwinn of the North Carolina Annual Conference preached on the subject “A Huge Urgency Around a Huge Opportunity.” Scripture lessons came from Joshua 1:1-9, II Timothy 2:22-3:17; and John 2:13-21. Kentucky Conference Director of Connectional Ministries Rev. Julie Hager Love read the Gospel lesson. In his sermon, Bishop Gwinn urged the new bishops to be brave and not to compromise their convictions.
Near the close of the service, active and retired bishops prayed with the new bishops before they were presented to the congregation. Those gathered in Stuart Auditorium greeted the new episcopal leaders warmly.
This Jurisdictional Conference included a couple of historic moments related to episcopal elections. Debbie Wallace-Padgett is the first woman elected bishop from the Kentucky Annual Conference, and Young Jin Cho is the SEJ’s first Korean-American bishop.
Bishop Davis has been assigned for another four years to the Kentucky and Red Bird Conferences. Bishop Wallace-Padgett has been assigned to the North Alabama Conference. Bishop Carter is assigned to the Florida Conference, Bishop McAlilly to the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences, Bishop Holston to the South Carolina Conference, and Bishop Cho to the Virginia Conference. The other SEJ Episcopal assignments are listed below.
Alabama-West Florida Conference: Paul Leeland
Holston Conference: Mary Virginia Taylor
Mississippi Conference: Bishop James Swanson
North Carolina Conference: Hope Morgan Ward
North Georgia Conference: B. Michael Watson
South Georgia Conference: James King
Western North Carolina Conference: Larry Goodpaster