By GLENN HANNIGAN
Jonathan Holston, senior pastor of St. James UMC in Atlanta, received an overwhelming majority of votes on the first ballot at the North Georgia delegation meeting, Oct. 8, to become the conference's Episcopal nominee.
A motion was made to make the endorsement unanimous and it passed without dissent.
“I am very honored,” Holston said, “and I am grateful for the support I have received from the delegation.”
Next July, at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina, the Southeastern Jurisdictional (SEJ) will hold its quadrennial gathering for the primary purpose of selecting bishops to serve conferences in the SEJ.
Holston, who has been elected as a delegate to four General Conferences and five Jurisdictional Conferences, was first endorsed as Episcopal nominee for the 2004 Jurisdictional Conference.
“That was a great surprise to receive that honor eight years ago,” Holston said. “I am grateful to have had a chance over the past eight years to reflect and define places where I needed to grow,” Holston said. “I feel blessed to have had the opportunity during that time to serve back in the local church.”
Holston, who was born in Griffin, Ga., earned a B.A. in religion from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Divinity from Gammon Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
His previous appointments include: senior pastor of Marietta Street UMC (1983-1986); senior pastor of Clifton UMC (1986-1992); associate director of the Conference Council on Ministries from (1992-1997); and District Superintendent of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford district (1997-2005).
Holston was appointed to St. James UMC in Atlanta in 2005.
"In 2004, when North Georgia selected Jonathan Holston, he was one of the youngest nominees for the episcopacy in the last 40 years,” said Ed Tomlinson, District Superintendent of the Atlanta Roswell District and delegate to both the 2012 General Conference and 2012 Jurisdictional Conference. “Although his maturity and experience exceeded most clergy of his age, delegates across the jurisdiction stated their favorable impression of him but also their hesitancy to elect someone with 24 years to serve.
“Eight years later, Jonathan is an even wiser and more experienced leader. He is ready to be a bishop in The United Methodist Church."
Holston has also served as a member of the the General Council on Finance and Administration (2000-2008); chair of General Conference Finance and Administrative Legislative Committee (2008); the General Board of Global Ministries; a member of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy (2004-2008); Hinton Rural Life Center, Appalachian Development Committee, and the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association for Native American Ministries.
He has also traveled extensively as a Specialist in Missions to Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, China and Hong Kong. In his work as the conference disaster relief coordinator, he served on the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the Catastrophic Disaster Response Team (CORT) and as the Church World Service (CWS) Disaster Consultant in Georgia.
Holston and his wife, Felecia, have two children, Karlton Maurice and Brittany Jene’.