Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor has announced the projected appointments of superintendents for the Big Stone Gap District and Chattanooga District, effective in June.
The Rev. Jeff Wright is projected to lead the Big Stone Gap District. Currently senior pastor at State Street United Methodist Church, Wright will follow the Rev. Archer Coppedge.
The Rev. Brenda Carroll is projected to lead the Chattanooga District. Currently senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of Maryville, Carroll will follow the Rev. Michael Hubble.
Brenda Carroll is a native of Lebanon, Va., and grew up in Elk Garden United Methodist Church, where mentoring pastors Pete Rowlett and Harry Hight were significant in nurturing her journey to Emory & Henry College and Candler School of Theology. Both pastors encouraged her love of Jesus and His church and gave her confidence to listen to God’s voice and call to enter a full time ministry path. In the summer of 1973, Brenda served two small churches (Davis Chapel and Midway in Tazewell District) during the summer break from seminary. The path to pastoral ministry was begun. Brenda has served on the conference staff, as well as appointments in the Knoxville, Abingdon, and Maryville Districts. For the past 11 years, Brenda has been serving at First United Methodist of Maryville, Tenn., as co-pastor with her husband of 40 years, Larry E. Carroll. Larry and Brenda have two adult children, Lauren and Travis. Larry will retire at this Annual Conference and will be working with the Recovery at Cokesbury, a ministry about which both Larry and Brenda are passionate.
Jeff W. Wright: I am 55 years old and am married to Sandy Roberts Wright who is a registered nurse. We have been married for 30 years and have two sons. Our oldest son, Jared (27) and his wife Michelle, live in Athens, Tenn., where Jared works for his alma mater, Tennessee Wesleyan College, currently as the interim director of alumni relations, and Michelle works for TVA. Our youngest son Jordan (24) graduated from the University of Tennessee in May 2012 and works in the Fan Relations Department for the Nashville Predators of the NHL and lives in Nashville, Tenn.
Both Sandy and I are natives of Saltville, Va. I lived there until I was in the 7th grade. My parents were the late Rev. James and Ruth Frye Wright. My father was a local pastor in Holston Conference for many years and actually served for 21 years in the Big Stone Gap District. I am a 1977 graduate of Thomas Walker High School in Ewing, Va., and a 1981 graduate of Emory & Henry College. I received my Masters of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in 1989.
After growing up not wanting to be a “preacher,” I answered the call to ministry in 1985. My previous ministry assignments include three years as a student pastor at the Salem United Methodist Church in Oxford, N.C., in the North Carolina Conference while at student at Duke; four years at the Mountain View and Seven Mile Ford United Methodist Churches near Chilhowie, Va., and seven years at the Central (Bean Station) and Rutledge United Methodist Churches in Grainger County, Tenn.. Prior to being appointed as the senior pastor at State Street United Methodist Church in Bristol, Va., in June of 2011, I served for 11 years as the pastor at Allen Memorial United Methodist Church in Athens, Tenn.
Throughout my ministry I have served on a number of conference, district, and community boards and agencies including as chair of the Nurture Team and as one of the developers and leaders of Leadership Holston which is now in its fifth class. I also have been chair of the Cleveland District Committee on Ministry, a member of the Cleveland District Discipleship Team, and chair of the Morristown District Discipleship Team. I presently serve on the Abingdon District Committee on Ministry and on the Abingdon District Strategy Team.
My hobbies are golf, music, UT football, and Duke basketball.
I am looking forward to working with the people, pastors, and churches of the Big Stone Gap District. In many ways it is like returning home for me since my father served there for so many years. And, not only did I grow up there, but after college I actually worked in that area as a salesman for a brief period of time.