Reflections from the Louisiana Delegation

Rev. Brady Whitton
November 10, 2022

A Note From Rev. Brady Whitton, Chair of the Louisiana Delegation
 

Dear Friends in Christ,
 
The next several months will be a time of transition in the Louisiana Annual Conference as we prepare to say farewell to Bishop Harvey and to welcome our new bishop, Bishop Delores “Dee” Williamston, effective January 1, 2023.
 
The delegation first met Bishop Williamston at a Southcentral Jurisdictional gathering in Oklahoma City in 2019.  While all the episcopal candidates we met had exceptional qualities, Bishop Williamston has a spiritual depth combined with an amazing ability to connect individually with everyone she meets. Together with her pastoral experience and organizational background, she became an instant stand-out. I, along with others on the delegation, left that meeting saying, "That's who we want as our bishop!" 

When we gathered last week in Houston, it was clear that Bishop Williamston would be elected, her name was on everyone’s lips.  Little did we know that she, and two other bishops, would be elected on the very first ballot. This was the first time this has ever happened in the history of the Methodist church!  (Bishop Williamston further made history by being the first female African American bishop elected in the Southcentral Jurisdiction.)

 
As a “rock star” candidate, I had little hope Bishop Williamston would be assigned to Louisiana. I thought a larger, more influential conference would claim that honor. So when the assignments were announced, and Carolyn Dove and Andy Goff walked onto the stage flanking Bishop Williamston, who was wearing Mardi Gras beads, I was overjoyed.
 
Following the announcement, the delegation and others from Louisiana got to spend some quality time with Bishop Williamston. 
 
Here are a few thoughts from members of the delegation:
 
“Bishop Williamston adds enthusiastic energy, disciplined experience, and an inspiring personal witness to Louisiana’s spiritual tapestry. She is a doer: a ‘boots on the ground’ person much loved and admired by her current Great Plains Conference. We are beyond blessed to have her as our new episcopal leader and thank God for this Gift.” Sarah Kreutziger, First Elected Lay Delegate
 
“I'm excited to begin work with Bishop Williamston.  Of all the candidates I felt like she best articulated a deep faith in the power of God and an understanding of church leadership as a partnership between clergy and lay people.” – Jenn Swann, Conference Lay Leader
 
"Bishop Williamston has a heart for Jesus, an enthusiastic spirit, and bold vision for the bright future ahead.  I'm excited to see what's coming next for United Methodism in Louisiana under her leadership!" – Rev. John Cannon, Clergy Delegate
 
I, along with the delegation, ask that you be in prayer for Bishop Williamston as she prepares to move to Louisiana and for Bishop Harvey as she prepares for her new assignment to the Texas Annual Conference.
 
Bishop Harvey has shepherded us through some of the most challenging times in recent memory – floods, hurricanes, a pandemic, and "fightings without, and fears within." 
 
Her advocacy for young clergy, women in leadership and her call for justice have raised our awareness and made us better. 
 
Thank you, Bishop Harvey for your faithful service to the Louisiana Conference. You, Dean, and Elizabeth will always have a special place in our hearts. We look forward to your continued leadership during this upcoming Advent season.   
 
Rev. Brady Whitton
Chairperson, Louisiana Delegation
 
The Louisiana Delegation
South Central Jurisdictional Conference
Houston, TX


 
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