October 19, 2022
I am thankful for our Holston Conference clergy for faithfully serving God and the church during a tumultuous time in our culture and denomination. Covid-19, economic challenges, racial injustices, political divisions, and denominational tensions have not stopped our clergy leaders from sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Holston clergy, for the difference you are making in the lives of many!
Since October is recognized as Pastor Appreciation Month by many denominations, including our own, I asked the Holston District Superintendents to add their voices to mine in naming reasons they are grateful for our clergy. Here are their responses:
Rev. Lauri Jo Cranford: “Every month, and especially this month, I appreciate the opportunity to serve alongside such amazing men and women who pastor their churches through the gifts of time, love, discernment, and faith. What a blessing it is to serve with such faithful followers of Christ!”
Rev. Angela Hardy Cross: “I’m grateful for the men and women who have heard the Call from Almighty God and are living it out in faithful obedience to God’s Word.”
Rev. Jason Gattis: “Each day I give thanks for the clergy of our conference and for the continued calling God has placed on their lives. I appreciate their dedication to the churches they serve and their fervor to share the grace and love of Jesus Christ within their communities.”
Rev. Kim Goddard: “I am grateful for part-time and bi-vocational pastors who give full time commitment in their call to ministry. I am grateful for the clergy who are spiritual mentors for my children when I am called to be their mom. I am grateful for clergy who speak from their heart and lead with their life.”
Rev. Hugh Kilgore: “I am blessed and honored to serve alongside the women and men who are pastors of Holston, that are called by God the Father, to share the good, good news of Jesus the Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Rev. Jeff Lambert: “I am so grateful for the clergy of the Appalachian District and Holston for their commitment to share the Gospel, love their congregation, and for making a difference.”
Rev. Ann Robins: I’m thankful for pastor leaders who are focused on new venues to share the good news. I’m thankful for pastors trying fresh expressions, considering SAS governing, engaging coaches, and consultants who are helping navigate and empowering creativity to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I’m thankful for clergy leaders who are willing to fail forward.”
Rev. Reed Shell: “I appreciate those women and men who have answered a call to ministry in the name of Jesus Christ to serve the body of Christ in the world and who have stood steadfast for the faith in challenging times.”
Rev. Jane Taylor: “I am grateful for our clergy who have embraced the difficulties of these last few years with grace and courage, who continue to seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and who continue to express their call to ministry in inspiring ways. It is a blessing to serve with them. Because of these wonderful people, we see churches that are expressing the abundant life Jesus offers on a regular basis!”
I encourage all our laity and churches to express gratitude to the clergy in your lives, not just during October but throughout the year. Holston clergy offer ministry to so many people in our Annual Conference and beyond.
As always, it is a joy to serve as your bishop.
Holston and North Alabama Conference
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, ...