Mary Virginia Taylor returns to Holston as first female bishop

Mary Virginia Taylor returns to Holston as first female bishop

Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor and her husband, the Rev. Rusty Taylor, are returning to Holston Conference.

Holston Conference received its first female bishop July 19 when Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor was assigned to her home conference during the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference

Taylor, 62, left Holston after her 2004 election to serve as resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference. She is a former Cleveland District superintendent, former chair of Holston's Board of Ordained Ministry, and Holston delegate to six General Conferences.   

Bishop James Swanson, who served Holston as resident bishop for eight years after his own 2004 election, was assigned to the Mississippi Conference.

Although traditionally unusual for bishops to be assigned to their home conferences, Taylor's appointment was one of three such moves in this year's SEJ Conference. Bishop-elect Young Jin Cho was assigned to his home conference of Virginia. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward returns to North Carolina after eight years in Mississippi.

The Rev. David Graves, endorsed by Holston Conference as a nominee for bishop, withdrew from the election earlier in the day on July 19 after failing to take the lead in 23 ballots. (See Graves' letter to Holston.)

Five bishops were elected during the July 18-19 elections: Jonathan Holston, North Georgia; Ken Carter, North Carolina; Bill McAlilly, Mississippi; Debbie Wallace-Padgett, Kentucky; and Young Jin Cho, Virginia.

Other SEJ bishop assignments announced July 19:   

  • Alabama-West Florida – Paul L. Leeland
  • Western North Carolina – Larry M. Goodpaster
  • Florida – Ken Carter
  • South Carolina – Jonathan Holston
  • Kentucky – Lindsey Davis
  • Tennessee (Nashville) – Bill McAlilly
  • North Georgia – Mike Watson
  • North Carolina – Hope Morgan Ward
  • Richmond – Young Jin Cho
  • North Alabama – Debbie Wallace-Padgett
  • South Georgia – Bishop James King

    See also:
    "Welcome, Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor," photo album on Facebook
    "Ten bishops elected; southeast makes assignments" (UM Reporter, 7/19/12)  



Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.