SEJ: Bishops elected, appointments expected Thursday

Four new bishops were welcomed to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference after 11 rounds of voting today.

Delegates have one more episcopal position to fill. They will continue to cast ballots when they reconvene at 7:30 p.m. today.

Elected on the first ballot with 312 votes was Rev. Jonathan Holston of the North Georgia Conference.  He had needed only 254 votes to attain the 60 percent majority required to secure a post.

Others chosen, in order of election, were Rev. Ken Carter of the Western North Carolina Conference, with 274 votes; Rev. Bill McAlilly of the Mississippi Conference, 278 votes;  and Rev. Dr. Debra Wallace-Padgett of the Kentucky Conference, 274 votes.

Rev. Debbie McLeod, the Florida Conference nominee, has received her highest number of votes so far, 115, during the first casting of ballots.

This is the first year SEJ delegates have cast ballots using hand-held electronic devices. Although there were a few glitches, including an announcement of Carter’s election on the second round that had to be rescinded, conference leaders said they were pleased with the speed of the electronic voting process. Carter was declared a bishop after the third ballot.

Dr. Brad Brady, SEJ conference secretary, told delegates the 12 ballots taken by the supper break was twice as many as those cast in the first full day of voting at the last conference in 2008.

A new bishop for the Florida Conference is expected to be assigned from among the five newly elected, or the Committee on Episcopacy could choose one of three bishops who will be reassigned because of term limits. Bishops expected to be reassigned are Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Conference, James Swanson Sr. of the Holston Conference and Mary Virginia “Dindy” Taylor of the South Carolina Conference.

Assignments are expected to be announced during Thursday’s SEJ Conference session that begins at 7:30 p.m. The proceedings may be viewed at


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