2023 Holston Annual Conference | Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett

2023 Holston Annual Conference | Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett

Dear Friends,

I left the 2023 Holston Annual Conference encouraged and hopeful for our future. Many thanks to the 829 voting members as well as the numerous guests and staff who were present at Lake Junaluska to worship, pray, laugh, and do business together.

We accomplished a lot in our four days of conferencing centered around the theme “Worship Together.” Highlights included:
  • licensing four local pastors, commissioning five elders and two deacons, ordaining three elders, and recognizing the orders of one deacon and one elder from other denominations;
  • receiving numerous reports about the ministries of Holston United Methodism;
  • hearing about our emerging vision of a conference full of passionate spiritual leaders making disciples of Jesus Christ;
  • ratifying a motion to enter a $1.5 million “New Voices” campaign for our Wesley Foundations, Colleges and Camps that will culminate at the 2024 Annual Conference mission offering;
  • respectfully debating several resolutions;
  • diving deep in a teaching session on the sacraments led by Bishop Gregory Palmer on Tuesday evening with special music by Christ United Methodist Church Choir and Praise Team;
  • launching our yearlong Bicentennial Celebration with a lively and engaging introduction by Rev. Charles Maynard;
  • learning sessions from Children’s Ministry Cultivating Seeds of Faith luncheon and Dinner Church simulation;
  • setting a goal of starting 25 new holy experiments/Fresh Expressions by the 2024 Annual Conference;
  • worshipping together on six occasions:
    • Opening Credentialing service featuring music by The Cokesbury Ensemble;
    • Teaching Moment and Holy Communion led by Rev. Sarah Slack and assisted by Rev. Dr. Greta Smith with music provided by the Ebenezer Praise Team;
    • Memorial Service preached by Rev. Reed Shell with music by The Annual Conference choir;
    • Mission celebration preached by Bishop Gregory Palmer with special music by Praise Team led by Paul Jones and featuring Chris Blue;   
    • Teaching Moment and Remembrance of Baptism conducted by Rev. Walter Cross and assisted by Rev. Dr. Angela Hardy Cross with special music by Praise Team led by Conference Music Coordinators Rev. Willie Kitchens and Christina Malone;          
    • Wednesday morning Sending Forth led by Bishop Gregory Palmer;
  • and so much more.
Yes, I am encouraged and hopeful about the future of the Holston Conference. Thanks for being the amazing leaders and churches you are.

As always, it is a joy to serve as your bishop.
Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
Holston and North Alabama Conferences


Debra Wallace-Padgett

The Reverend Dr. Debra Wallace-Padgett was elected a Bishop of the United Methodist Church at the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. At the time of her election, she was the lead pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lexington, ...