The Holston Conference delegation to General Conference and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference announces the endorsement of the Rev. David Graves as a candidate for the episcopacy in The United Methodist Church.
The delegation nominated Graves by unanimous vote during a Sept. 27 meeting at the Holston Conference Center in Alcoa, Tenn. Candidacy places Graves in the election for United Methodist bishop at the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference, scheduled July 18-20, 2012, at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
Graves, age 53, currently serving as Kingsport District superintendent, said he was "humbled and overwhelmed."
"It's really kind of hard to articulate. But I'm seeing God's hand in my years of first, leading local churches to make disciples, then leading a district in that direction, and now my next opportunity might be helping an annual conference."
See video statement.
Del Holley, head of the Holston Conference delegation, said they were "excited to offer David's gifts and graces for leadership in the church."
"David has a passion for making disciples for Jesus Christ, an understanding of the role in leading local churches in that effort, and experience on the Cabinet for seeing effective ways to implement it," Holley said.
Graves is superintendent of 58 churches, including the newest, LifeSpring, which he pastors himself. LifeSpring launched in August and worships in John Adams Elementary School on Saturday evening.
He was appointed to the Cabinet in July 2009 and now serves as dean. Church leaders have credited him for being one of the first superintendents in the United Methodist Church to create and lead a district strategy.
Graves has served as senior pastor at Ooltewah UMC, Cleveland District, 1998-2009; pastor, Mountain View/St. Matthew, Kingsport District (1997-1998); pastor, St. Matthew, Kingsport District (1994-1997); and associate at Hixson, Chattanooga District (1989-1994).
He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (B.S., 1984), and Candler School of Theology (M.Div., 1990).