Bishop David Graves, resident bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, has announced two conference staff changes and an update to the cabinet.
Rev. Ashley Davis, current director of connectional ministries and conference secretary, will be appointed as the new assistant to the bishop. She will also continue her duties as conference secretary. Rev. Davis is a life-long United Methodist and is a native of Luverne, AL. She completed her undergraduate degree from Auburn University and is a graduate of Candler School of Theology. She was ordained an elder in 2011.
Rev. June Jernigan, current assistant to the bishop, is retiring at the end of the appointment year. Rev. Jernigan married her husband, Phillip, last year and is excited to spend time traveling and visiting family. She will also launch her consulting and coaching services on September 1, 2022, and will continue to resource the conference office and focus on clergy development, a passion of hers. “There are simply no words to express my gratitude to Rev. Jernigan for her service,” stated Bishop Graves. “After 30 years of ministry I am happy that June will be able to enjoy retirement while also using her many gifts and talents. We will still call on her for specific projects and will utilize her extensive knowledge of United Methodist polity. I will greatly miss June daily but wish her the very best in this new chapter of her life.”
Deaconess Celeste Eubanks, current director of leadership strategies, will become the new director of connectional ministries. Eubanks, a consecrated deaconess in The United Methodist Church, is the first lay person to hold this title. Her leadership strategy duties will fall under the connectional ministries umbrella. Eubanks is a Louisiana native and worked in software development and human resources management for 14 years before answering her call into lay ministry. She completed her undergraduate degree from The University of Southern Miss and obtained a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University.
“Many of you already know how blessed we are to have such outstanding conference staff,” said Graves. “Most of them are doing the work of two or three people to best use our limited resources. In May of 2020 we announced a significant plan to reduce costs and we continue to find ways to honor that strategy. Ashley and Celeste are outstanding directors and have a strong working relationship that will ensure a seamless transition. While we are one of the smallest conference staffs in the connection, this team continues to resource our local churches in highly productive and helpful ways.”
Dr. Jeff Wilson, current Dothan and Montgomery-Opelika district superintendent, will be the dean of the cabinet. “Dr. Wilson is one of the most skilled and efficient leaders I’ve encountered,” Graves mentioned. “He was our first district superintendent to manage two districts and did an exceptional job. His tenure on the cabinet and high-capacity leadership equips him to serve in this role.”
All appointments are effective July 1, 2022. Other clergy appointments will be published at the conclusion of annual conference.