|Rev. Dr. Harold D. Lewis|
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C.—On Wednesday, July 13, Rev. Dr. Harold Lewis of the Florida Conference became an episcopal candidate for the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) of The United Methodist Church in the first ballot of the conference.
By the rules of the SEJ, any person not on the official ballot who receives more than 10 votes is confirmed as a nominee. Rev. Lewis received 13 votes on Wednesday’s first ballot.
District Superintendent Rev. Sue Haupert-Johnson is on the ballot as the episcopal candidate nominated by the Florida delegation in August 2015.
Lewis first came to the Florida Conference in 2009 as its first director of African-American congregational development. He has been instrumental in developing and delivering diversity and inclusivity training in recent years. He currently serves in a cross-racial appointment at Shepherd’s Community Church in Lakeland, Fla., while also leading the “Strengthening Black Church Initiative” for the Florida Conference.
Lewis is a native of Greenwood, Miss. He holds a bachelor’s degree in art from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., a master of divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Ga., and an honorary doctorate of sacred theology from the Reformed Methodist Church in Toledo, Ohio.
He was ordained in the Mississippi Annual Conference where he served for five years at Wesley United Methodist Church before being appointed as senior pastor at Lincoln Park United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., leading a turnaround there that increased attendance from 80 to 600.
In an address to the SEJ delegates Wednesday afternoon, Lewis described himself as “a leader and a warrior for the saints,” and he shared two hopes that he has for his episcopacy, if elected.
“Brokenness is everywhere” in the church, he said. “I want to use my skill sets for peacemaking and conflict resolution.” His second hope for his episcopacy would be leading churches to address the issue of racism.
Lewis and his wife, Janet, have seven children.