Brooks, Simmons eager to embrace new appointments and opportunities


        Jane Brooks knows there will be a significant learning curve as she steps into her new role as Director of Ministerial Services and Assistant to the Bishop.
       The Rev. Brooks, who most recently served as senior pastor of Rome First UMC, was appointed by Bishop Mike Watson to replace the Rev. Dr. John Simmons, who was appointed senior pastor of St. James UMC in Atlanta, replacing Jonathan Holston.
      Holston, a newly consecrated bishop, has been assigned to South Carolina Conference.
       Brooks is the first clergywoman to ever serve in such a role in the North Georgia Conference.
      “I was honored to be asked,” Brooks said. “I wasn’t expecting this. I have loved all the years I have spent working on the Board of Ordained Ministry and have thoroughly enjoyed working with ordained and licensed ministry candidates.”
       Brooks spent the final days of August preparing for the transition, packing boxes and asking questions.
       “I know there is a lot to learn,” she said. “I spent a day with John at the Conference Center and it was like drinking out of a fire hose. The important thing is knowing that I am not doing this job by myself. There is a whole team of people working together as part of ministerial services across the conference.”
     Brooks has been a member of the North Georgia Conference since 1983. She served in a variety of roles before being appointed to Rome FUMC in 2005, including: senior pastor of Watkinsville UMC and Superintendent of the Augusta District . She has served for many years on the North Georgia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, including the past two months as chairperson.
    Simmons has served as Director of Ministerial Services since 2007. His first Sunday at St. James will be September 16. His previous appointments include: Embry Hills UMC; Northbrook UMC, a new-church plant; Glenn Memorial UMC; as well as Athens-Elberton District Superintendent.
         “I feel extremely blessed to be appointed to St. James,” Simmons said. “I am delighted to be going back to the local church. Over the past 10 years I have spent five as a district superintendent and five in this office so I am looking forward to returning to preaching and teaching and pastoring.”
      Simmons said he knows he is leaving the office in capable hands.
      “Jane is supremely qualified,” he said. “And it is great knowing that she will be the first woman serving at this level in our conference.
      “It is time.”
        The Rev. Elaine Puckett, a Transitional-Interim Ministry Specialist, was appointed to replace Brooks at Rome First UMC. She will serve in that capacity until June, 2013.