North Georgia Pastor Named 2022 Appalachian Trail Chaplain


Rev. Randy Simpkins, a local pastor serving Bowdon First UMC in the Central West District, has been named the 2022 Appalachian Trail Chaplain. 

The Appalachian Trail Chaplaincy is a ministry of the Holston Conference of The United Methodist Church. Each year, the Appalachian Trail Chaplain embarks on a thru-hike of the 2,190-mile footpath that winds its way from Georgia to Maine with the sole purpose of listening, helping, and showing God’s love to those he or she meets along the way.

"I’ve served as pastor of Bowdon First UMC for the last six years and they are graciously giving me the time to enjoy this adventure," said Randy. "I’ve hiked all of the Georgia portion of the trail and some in North Carolina, but it has been a dream to hike the entire trail. ... I so enjoy building relationships, hearing stories, and sharing my story with others. This journey will provide that opportunity along with the chance to introduce this wonderful community of hikers to churches all along this path through the heartland of America."

Randy will begin his hike in January. Follow his journey on Facebook at or through the Appalachian Trail Chaplain website: