Graves to Return to Alabama-West Florida Conference as Episcopal Leader

November 04, 2022
(Lake Junaluska, NC) - On the final day of the 2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, it was confirmed that Bishop David W. Graves will continue as the Episcopal leader of the Alabama-West Florida Conference for another two years. Graves will also serve as the Episcopal leader for the South Georgia Conference.

This announcement was made when the SEJ Committee on the Episcopacy, led by Dr. Steve Furr of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, reported the assignments of the Bishops within the Southeastern Jurisdiction. 

The new SEJ Bishop assignments are:
  • Alabama-West Florida Episcopal Area – Bishop David W. Graves
  • Birmingham Episcopal Area (North Alabama Conference) – Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
  • Charlotte Episcopal Area (Western North Carolina Conference) - Bishop Ken Carter
  • Columbia Episcopal Area (South Carolina Conference) - Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
  • Florida Episcopal Area - Bishop Tom Berlin
  • Holston Episcopal Area - Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
  • Louisville Episcopal Area (Kentucky And Central Appalachia Missionary Conferences) - Bishop Leonard Fairley
  • Mississippi Episcopal Area - Bishop Sharma Lewis
  • Nashville Episcopal Area (Tennessee Western Kentucky Annual Conference) - Bishop William McAlilly
  • North Georgia Episcopal Area - Bishop Robin Dease
  • Raleigh Episcopal Area (North Carolina Conference) - Bishop Connie Shelton
  • Richmond Episcopal Area (Virginia Annual Conference) - Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson
  • South Georgia Episcopal Area - Bishop David W. Graves
These Episcopal Assignments will begin January 1, 2023.

Bishops are elected for life and serve in their assignment until retirement (required by the Book of Discipline to be the jurisdictional conference following their 68th birthday). Bishops are elected at Jurisdictional Conference and then are assigned to Episcopal Areas, which may include one or more Annual Conferences, within that Jurisdiction for a four-year term. Due to the pandemic and the rescheduling of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, delegates will meet again in July 2024. Therefore, some assignments will be for two years.

“It is an honor and a privilege to return to the Alabama-West Florida Conference,” stated Bishop Graves. “I will continue to serve two conferences with God’s guidance and a lot of prayer. The people I have met the past six years in this conference are true servant leaders and I look forward to our continued ministry partnership. Now that we have resolution on Episcopal assignments, I am calling clergy and laity in the AWF Conference to a year of prayer. You will hear more about this in the coming days but let us prepare our hearts for this intentional prayer time.”

During the 2022 SEJ Conference delegates from the 14 annual conferences within the southeast have gathered under the theme “This I Know.” They heard reports and voted on business matters and worshiped together. The delegates also elected three new bishops: Bishop Tom Berlin, Bishop Connie Shelton and Bishop Robin Dease. The conference concludes Friday morning, November 4, with a Service of Consecration for the newly elected bishops.