Bishop William H. Willimon announces a number of changes in the North Alabama United Methodist Conference Cabinet that will take place at Annual Conference in June of 2007.
Bishop Willimon commented, "This year four of our most distinguished leaders on the Cabinet will rotate back into the appointive process and will be taking their place among our pastoral leaders. They all have led this Conference through the momentous process of creating eight new districts, they have worked hard to make this vision a reality and to realign our work in light of our priorities. They have all taught me how to be a bishop and they represent the best of our ordained leadership."
The Reverends Dorothy Ann Webster of the Cheaha District, Steve Screws of the Mountain Lakes District, and Paul Messer of the Southeast District will all be transitioning back into the pastorate. The Reverend Gary Ward, who has led the transition process into the eight new districts and has served this past year in assisting the Cabinet and the Bishop in property and organizational matters related to the transition will also be leaving the Cabinet.
"These are all people who stepped up and led when their Conference needed their special qualities of leadership. They have all worked very hard, and we owe them a great debt of gratitude," said Bishop Willimon. "They have accomplished things in just a few years that our Conference had talked about for many years!"
Joining the Cabinet will be The Reverends Amy Bowers, Will Garrett, and Richard Stryker.
Reverend Bowers serves as co-pastor at Genesis United Methodist Church, a new and growing church start, in Birmingham. She and her husband and co-pastor of Genesis, Reverend Dean Bowers, planted Genesis in June of 2004. Before planting this new church, Reverend Bowers served as Senior Pastor at Faith United Methodist Church in Clay, Alabama. She will serve as the Superintendent of the Cheaha District.
Reverend Garrett has served as Senior Pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Birmingham since June of 2001. Under his leadership, Christ United Methodist Church has experienced much growth in worship attendance and membership. Dr. Garrett has also led a complete revision of the Conference program for Probationary elders and deacons, making the North Alabama Conference a leader in clergy mentoring and development. He will serve as the Superintendent of the Mountain Lakes District.
Reverend Stryker serves as Senior Pastor at St. Thomas United Methodist Church in Sylacauga, a congregation that has also experienced much growth under his leadership. Reverend Stryker also recently served as the Conference Disaster Response Coordinator and was instrumental in leading the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church in hurricane Katrina relief efforts. He is a native of Liberia and has experienced successful ministry in a variety of settings in the United States and Africa. Reverend Stryker is completing his Doctor of Ministry degree at Sewanee, The University of the South. He will serve as the Superintendent of the Southeast District.
Bishop Willimon noted, "All of these persons, who join the Cabinet, bring demonstrated expertise in areas that are our priorities. They have grown the churches where they have served and we need them to lead us into new areas of vitality. Each of them has been selected for their specific, proven gifts in helping us realize our Conference priorities. I am excited about working with them on Christ's mission in the North Alabama Conference."