Bill Howell Hired as New Director of Missional Engagement and Outreach

September 06, 2021
The Louisiana Conference is pleased to announce the hiring of Bill Howell, who will serve as Director of the Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach, an office that also manages the Conference's disaster response ministry.
 
Howell, a certified lay minister from Jacksonville, Florida, has extensive missions and emergency response training. His background ranges from mission training with Global Ministries to vision research at Florida State University as a published researcher to active duty service in the United States Air Force and reserve duty at the U.S. Central Command as an intelligence officer.
 
"Bill Howell is a rare find," says Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey. "He is uniquely qualified for leading us as we continue to build a structure for missional engagement. His experience as a member of several VIM teams provides him insight into a day in the life of a mission volunteer. He has extensive experience in the church and secular world in strategic thinking, adaptation, and extraordinary execution. We are blessed Bill has said yes to this challenge."
 
The challenge is a state ravaged by hurricanes. From Hurricanes Laura and Delta a year ago in southwest Louisiana to Hurricane Ida and its path of destruction in southeast Louisiana, there is hardly a zip code in the lower half of Louisiana that hasn't been affected by a hurricane.
 
For Howell, it is indeed a challenge, and the question is a natural one, 'are you ready for this?' 
 
"I have found that many times these opportunities require a lot of faith, and this is one of those times," Howell said. "I'm not sure anyone is ever ready for something like this, but I am ready to be faithful to God's calling. God will provide the direction and equipping necessary to get His task(s) done. My job is to answer the calling, listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit, and let His will be done."
 
Bishop Harvey says Howell leads with a strong and steady non-anxious presence and a heart of peace, characteristics that are needed now more than ever. 
 
"He is an exceptional mission volunteer, a certified lay minister, theologically strong, and most importantly, a faithful follower of Jesus," she said. "Katherine (Howell's wife) is a strong partner in Bill's ministry. She, alongside Bill and us, will help us as we meet the needs of people throughout the Louisiana Conference." 
Louisiana is blessed with many hardworking, passionate, family-focused people. This is not the first time Louisiana has experienced such hardships, and the greatest strength that Louisiana has is the 'heart' of its people.
Bill Howell

 
"I am confident that God has prepared Katherine and me for this undertaking. It is my assurance that this was His calling," Howell says. "I have looked back over my journey and my career and can see where the challenges, experiences, failures, and successes were preparing me for such a time as this."
 
Howell's career has brought him to Louisiana for various projects, most notably working with the Governor's Office during the construction of a Shell Technology Facility in Port Allen.
 
"Louisiana is blessed with many hardworking, passionate, family-focused people," Howell says. "This is not the first time Louisiana has experienced such hardships, and the greatest strength that Louisiana has is the 'heart' of its people. I plan to lean on the folks already in place, who have the experience and networks necessary to get the work done."
 
Some of the folks already in place include Rev. Bob Deich, who will continue to serve in his current role as Disaster Response Coordinator for the Louisiana Conference.
 
"I am pleased Bob has agreed to continue to lead in ways that express his unique gifts," said Bishop Harvey. "His pastoral presence, his love for the people, and the mission will be a valuable asset moving forward."
 
Howell, who will be arriving in Louisiana this week, plans to survey both the needs of those affected by the storms of this past year and the tools in place to help with a timely and strategic response. 
 
"My desire is to support the Louisiana team's ongoing efforts, to provide support and encouragement, and to help remove the barriers that might be slowing down their efforts to bring relief to so many in need."
 

If you would like to help the relief efforts here in Louisiana, please visit: www.la-umc.org/relief or text RELIEF to 800-500-5858.

 
 
 
 
 

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