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Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett Assigned to North Alabama Conference
The 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference concluded today, July 20th with worship and consecration of five new bishops. Among those consecrated was the newly assigned bishop to North Alabama Conference (NAC), Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett. Other consecrated were Bishops Jonathan Holston, Ken Carter, Bill McAlily and Young Jin Cho.
As Bishop Willimon prepares to retire, the new Bishop assigned to North Alabama is Bishop Wallace-Padgett. Rev. Dr. Debra Wallace-Padgett was elected on Wednesday, assigned by the Episcopal Committee on Thursday and consecrated this morning, Friday. She will take over the leadership of the conference on September 1, 2012.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett is married to the Rev. Lee Padgett, executive director of Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center, and is the mother of two children, Leanndra (20) and Andrew (17).
Her training includes: Asbury Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry; Lexington Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity; Scarritt College and Graduate School, Master of Arts in Christian Education; Berea College, Bachelor of Arts, Physical Education.
Having served six years as a District Superintendent, she was appointed to St. Luke UMC in Lexington, Kentucky. She comes to North Alabama from St. Luke UMC, serving her eight year as pastor. St. Luke is a thriving 1700+ member church. It is surrounded by a diverse neighborhood that includes both low income and high scale housing. She describes the church as having a heart for missions and a desire/history for reaching unchurched persons for Christ.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett says of St. Luke UMC, “Though predominantly Caucasian, we are growing in diversity, including members and leaders who are African American, African immigrants, Hispanic and Asian. We also are reaching persons from a variety of economic backgrounds through partnerships with schools, recreational ministries, feeding ministries and a new multicultural worship service. Our recently completed Life Center doubles our building space allowing us to expand our outreach and discipleship ministries.”
When asked about her philosophy of serving as a bishop, Bishop Wallace-Padgett responded: “The key word in this question is “serving.” A Bishop at his/her best is a true servant leader. The Bishop is called to serve (in order of priority) God, the United Methodist Church and the Annual Conference to which s/he is assigned. I believe that the places of greatest opportunity for a Bishop to have an impact on the Church are in: 1) appointment making, 2) setting Annual Conference priorities in collaboration with appropriate Conference leaders/teams and 3) systemic change. Ideally the Bishop’s decisions are driven by God’s Holy Spirit working in his/her life on a daily basis and the mission of the church of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” (Debbie Wallace-Padgett Episcopal Questions for North Alabama Conference).
At a reception following the announcement of her assignment to North Alabama, members of the NAC Jurisdictional delegation, Cabinet members and pastors had the opportunity to meet, greet and welcome the new bishop and spouse to ministry in the North Alabama Conference. We trust that you will welcome and pray God’s blessing upon Bishop Wallace-Padgett as she prepares to provide Episcopal oversight of the churches and United Methodist Christians in North Alabama.
For the listing of Episcopal assignments and more information on the new bishop, go to http://www.northalabamaumc.org/news/detail/1179
For the full text and responses to the North Alabama Conference questionnaire, go to http://www.debbiewallace-padgett.com/uploads/Episcopacy-North_Alabama_Questions_PDF_.pdf