The mission of the Louisiana Annual Conference is simple, yet complex.
"Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
To address the complexity and work toward the Conference's preferred future, which is to reach out and draw in people from all walks of life, resulting in vital, vibrant and alive congregations, the conference’s work in New Church Development and Congregational Transformation prioritized its efforts.
For the past two years, Rev. John Cannon has served as District Superintendent for the Acadiana region, as well as the Director of Congregational Development. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey says Cannon's agreement to serve in a dual capacity was for a two-year span.
"During a national search, we interviewed many capable, talented and high capacity individuals," says Bishop Harvey. "Rev. Dr. Gloria Fowler was a stand-out - her experience in congregational transformation was an excellent match with the Louisiana Annual Conference’s focus on increasing congregational vitality and that which we hold of highest value - to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
Fowler, who will serve as new Director of Congregational Transformation and New Church Development, comes to Louisiana from the North Texas Conference where she is an ordained elder. Over the past five years, she has been instrumental in growing and leading congregational transformation as she has helped nearly 100 churches, of all sizes and backgrounds, experience an increase in fruitfulness and effectiveness.
Jim Ozier organizes the New Church Development & Congregational Transformation team for the North Texas Conference and says Fowler has been key to steady growth inside that Conference's Healthy Church Initiative, "She has been an invaluable teammate and a consummate professional in every way. She is a great organizer, communicator, and has a never-ending passion for congregational transformation and starting new faith communities."
In Louisiana, Fowler will be developing and coordinating a thorough process of evaluating, equipping, and coaching congregations in intentional and comprehensive transformation for the purpose of reaching new people. She will also help identify, evaluate and train potential church planters to establish new faith communities.
She is excited about the potential in Louisiana. "I have done congregational transformation and new church development work for the past 5 years. Even though I bring the expertise, this work cannot be done by one person alone. I know that God has blessed this conference with gifted clergy and laity that are passionate about reaching people for Jesus Christ and making disciples of Jesus Christ," she says. "In partnership with the entire Conference, I am looking forward to the kind of transformation and the new church starts God will allow us to experience. I know that we serve a mighty and awesome God, and I am looking forward to seeing God at work."
"I am thrilled that Gloria will be leading our transformation and new church ministries," says Cannon. "I believe her experience in congregational development and her passion for connecting congregations with their mission fields will have a direct impact on local churches eager to reach new people."
Fowler, a Korean-American, was born and raised in Korea until her elementary years where she attended a boarding school away from her parents. It was there that Fowler received her call to ministry. Later, she would come to the United States to attend college and eventually pursue her calling in the United Methodist Church.