Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson Announces Conference-Level Appointments


Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson announces the appointment of two new District Superintendents and four Conference staff, effective July 1, 2020.

New Superintendents

Rev. Dr. Rodrigo Cruz, currently pastor of The Nett UMC in Gwinnett County, and Rev. Dr. Michael T. McQueen, currently pastor of St. James UMC in Alpharetta, will join the cabinet as District Superintendents.
"I am very excited to welcome Dr. McQueen and Dr. Cruz to the Cabinet. Both are already effective missional strategists who have led their churches in vibrant and creative ministry. Both have excelled in developing lay leadership and mentoring new and young clergy. And both are deeply committed to building a strong, nimble, and diverse United Methodist Church in North Georgia," said Bishop Haupert-Johnson.

Dr. Cruz was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico where he practiced law before transitioning into full-time ministry. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary. In 2016, he was appointed to start a new church in the North Georgia Conference. He launched The Nett as a multiethnic new church start in 2016. Today The Nett is doing ministry through three campuses, including hosting a shelter for women and children. In 2019, Dr. Cruz was voted by the Chamber of Commerce as one of the 50 most influential Latinos in the State of Georgia. He and his wife Kelly are proud parents of five children: RJ, Natalia, Gabriel, Benjamin, and 1-month-old Jona.
Dr. Cruz will be appointed in a District Superintendent/Presiding Elder capacity and will remain senior pastor of The Nett. The Cabinet will appoint a full-time elder to work out of the District Office as a missions specialist to aid Cruz in his work.
Dr. McQueen is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He earned a Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from the Interdenominational Theological Center. He has served St. James UMC since 2006. One of the fastest growing congregations in Alpharetta, the church has grown from 1,500 members to more than 3,500 members since his appointment. Dr. McQueen previously served as Senior Pastor at Ousley UMC and as Associate and Senior Associate at Ben Hill UMC. Dr. McQueen and his wife Wanda are the proud parents of two sons and are especially proud grandparents of one granddaughter.
Dr. McQueen will serve as a District Superintendent.

Retirements and Leave

We celebrate several retirements and recognize those on leave.
Rev. Jane Brooks, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries, will retire in June.
Two current District Superintendents have also announced their retirement. Rev. Dr. Richard Winn, superintendent of the Griffin District and Rev. Dr. Doug Thrasher, superintendent of the Atlanta-Roswell District, will each retire in June.
Rev. Dr. Mike Long, superintendent of the Atlanta-Roswell District, will continue on medical leave.

Appointed to Churches

Two current cabinet members will be appointed to local churches in July.
Rev. Dr. Brian Clark, superintendent of the Athens-Elberton District, will be appointed as senior pastor of Dalton First UMC.
Rev. Dr. Phil Schroeder, director of the Center for Congregational Excellence, will be appointed as senior pastor of Dunwoody UMC.
Three clergy will join the conference staff in July 2020 and one clergyperson will take a new role on conference staff.

New Roles for Appointive Cabinet Members

Rev. Dr. Terry Walton, currently serving as Atlanta-Marietta District Superintendent, will be appointed as Assistant to the Bishop.
Rev. Dr. Bernice Kirkland, currently serving as Atlanta-College Park District Superintendent, will be appointed as Director of the Center for Clergy Excellence. She follows Rev. Dr. Dana Everhart who was appointed earlier this year to St. Mark UMC in Atlanta.

New Extended Cabinet Member

Rev. Dr. Hal Jones, president of WellRoot Family Services, will serve as Director of Connectional Ministries. In service to the bishop, cabinet, and church leadership across the North Georgia Conference, Rev. Jones will provide strategic guidance, support, and process improvement regarding mission and ministry.
He will serve on the extended cabinet.

New Role on Staff

Rev. Blair Zant, currently Associate Director of Congregational Excellence, will be appointed as Director of Congregational Excellence.

"I am confident that this team has the gifts and synergy to lead our annual conference in building a UMC for the 21st century. I look forward to working with them through the joys and challenges of the next quadrennium," said Bishop Haupert-Johnson.