African-American bishop appointed to South Georgia United Methodist Conference

Bishop James King is the new bishop for the South Georgia Conference, and becomes the first African-American bishop to serve this United Methodist Conference, or region. The Conference takes in Columbus, Macon and Savannah and all towns south.

The outgoing bishop, Michael Watson, was assigned to the North Georgia Conference, which includes Atlanta and points north and east, including Augusta.

The new assignments were announced just after 9 p.m. Friday from Lake Junaluska, N.C., where the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference has been held since Wednesday. Bishops are allowed to serve eight years — with occasional exceptions — in one Conference. Watson had served here since 2000.

South Georgia Conference offices are in Macon, with affiliated ministries in St. Simons Island.

King was born Sept. 8, 1947. He is married to Margaret Rosetta “Rose” Hayden, and they have three children: Jothany of Atlanta, James R. of Athens and Robert Samuel of Brentwood, Tenn.

King has a Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta (1972) and a Bachelor of Arts from Clark College, Atlanta. He was ordained a deacon in the Central Alabama Conference in 1970; became an Ordained Elder in Central Alabama Conference (1972) and served churches in Alabama and California before moving into various administrative positions in the denomination.

King previously served the Kentucky Conference. He preached before delegates last month in Columbus, at the South Georgia Annual Conference at the Columbus Civic Center.

One new bishop was elected this week in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. He is Paul Leeland, who was assigned to the Alabama-West Florida Area, which includes the Alabama - West Florida Conference.

The remaining assignments are:

Bishop Alfred Gwinn — Raleigh Area, which includes the North Carolina Conference.

Bishop Charlene Kammerer — Richmond Area, which includes the Virginia Conference.

Bishop Lindsey Davis — Louisville Area, which includes the Kentucky and Red Bird Missionary Conferences.

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster — Charlotte Area, which includes the Western North Carolina Conference.

Bishop James Swanson — Holston Area, which includes the Holston Conference. (Before his election as a bishop in 2004, Swanson was District Superintendent in Savannah and prior to that assignment served St. Mary's Road United Methodist Church in Columbus.)

Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor — Columbia Area, which includes the South Carolina Conference.

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward — Mississippi Area, which includes the Mississippi Conference.

Bishop William H. Willimon — Birmingham Area, which includes the North Alabama Conference.

Bishop Richard J. Wills Jr. — Nashville Area, which includes the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences.

Bishop Timothy Whitaker — Florida Area, which includes the Florida Conference.

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