North Georgia Episcopal Nominee Rev. Sharma Lewis Speaks to SEJ Delegates and Guests
Rev. Lewis speaks during a lunch gathering hosted by the Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy. Photo by Luke Lucas/AWFUMC
Rev. Sharma Lewis, Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District superintendent, addressed a lunch gathering of Southeastern Jurisdiction delegates and guests. Each of the SEJ's 14 episcopal candidates spoke during the General Conference lunch break, seven speaking Tuesday and seven on Wednesday.
The jurisdictional episcopacy committee offered each candidate six minutes to share about two of the most important accomplishments in their ministry, where their passion lies and how they would bring their passion to life, if elected.
Rev. Lewis thanked the delegates for their encouragement of her and expressed her passion for inviting people to believe in and serve Jesus Christ and making a difference in the effectiveness of ministry.
She spoke about her time as senior pastor of Wesley Chapel UMC in McDonough, Ga., and her time as superintendent in the ADOX District.
As pastor of Wesley Chapel, she saw potential for clergy and laity to work together and she created a culture of call. In just three years 600 members joined Wesley Chapel and worship attended doubled. Partnerships were cultivated within the community. The result was a vibrant, revitalized church.
In her role as superintendent, she has reshaped the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District. Apportionment giving has seen a significant increase, she brought in five women as senior pastors, has worked to bring young adult clergy as senior pastors, and has made cross racial/cross cultural appointments. Through work with congregational development and a district strategic growth team, two new faith communities were launched by pairing new churches with historic churches.
Elections for Bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction will be held July 13-15, 2016, in Lake Junaluska, NC. The candidates are:
Tom Berlin, Virginia Conference
Lawson Bryan, Alabama-West Florida Conference
Leonard Fairley, North Carolina Conference
David Graves, Holston Conference
Tom Grieb, Kentucky Conference
Sue Haupert-Johnson, Florida Conference
James Howell, Western North Carolina Conference
Sharma Lewis, North Georgia Conference
Tim McClendon, South Carolina Conference
Sky McCracken, Memphis Conference
Robin Scott, North Alabama Conference
Ted Smith, BMCR of Virginia Conference
Stephen Sparks, Mississippi Conference
Farley Stuart, Red Bird Missionary Conference