Office of Missional Outreach and Engagement

April 09, 2019

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey is pleased to announce Rev. Elaine Burleigh as the new Director of the Conference Office of Missional Outreach and Engagement. 

"I am thrilled that in God’s always perfect timing Rev. Elaine Burleigh will be assuming responsibilities as the Director of Missional Engagement," says Bishop Harvey. "She brings strong administrative presence to the position in addition to her heart for pastoral care and mission."

Burleigh was ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church in 2008, having served a number of churches in the Louisiana Annual Conference. Most recently, she is serving at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge.

Burleigh, raised in the United Methodist Church, has had her definition of "mission" change over the years. For the longest time, she believed these “missions of mercy” were her Christian duty. However, life in ministry has shaped the definition to include more. 

"Oftentimes, people do need help doing something, especially in the aftermath of a disaster," she says. "But they always need someone to love them, to listen to them, to honor who they are and where they are, to hear a message of hope, to know that someone cares.  I now think of mission not as what we do, but as the primary way we live out our Christian lives.  We are called to bear witness to the person and work of Christ by allowing God to use our life as a channel of God’s grace." 
Burleigh has always drawn inspiration from Micah 6:8, “what does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” 

She says this new opportunity to serve the Louisiana Conference as the Director of Missional Engagement and Outreach allows her to live out her calling in new and exciting ways. 

Burleigh has always drawn inspiration from Micah 6:8, “what does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” 

"I am looking forward to this new chapter in my ministry," she says. "Excited for the chance to help others connect to their calling through mission and outreach, and humbled by the knowledge that I follow in the footsteps of many who have prepared the way before me." 

Rev. Laraine Waughtal will be returning to the local church to serve as senior pastor of First United Methodist Chuch in DeRidder. 

"I look forward to once again working alongside and with church members building deep relationships, growing spiritually through worship, Bible Studies and being a part of the community while making disciples," says Waughtal. "I look forward to serving in the mission of the Gospel through everything we do whether it is in a line at the grocery store or Vacation Bible School. Just like Jesus with his disciples our faith grows deeper through our time with each other, the community and the world."

Waughtal served the Louisiana Conference after arriving from Texas where she had served as an elder in the local church and also served as the disaster response coordinator. 

"Laraine Waughtal came to the Louisiana Conference at the perfect time," says Bishop Harvey. "She was instrumental in leading the Conference through a significant disaster response following the 2016 floods and Hurricane Harvey.  Under Laraine’s leadership the Conference was able to assist thousands of families in the recovery process. Her heart for the local church, pastoral care and the church’s role in connecting with the community in significant ways will be a gift to the DeRidder community."

While Waughtal is looking forward to local ministry, she will take with her fond memories of helping the people of the 2016 Flood, Hurricane Harvey, the flooding in Varnado and the Pineville/Alexandria tornado as well as the many mission opportunities through the newly formed Mission Center at Francis Asbury. 

"I have been so deeply blessed building and working with our VIM leadership and District Disaster Response Coordinators in becoming even stronger in our training, building our teams up and the great leadership they are utilizing through training," says Waughtal. "Empowering God’s people is a humbling and wonderful opportunity. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to have served the conference and the state in this way."

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