Bishop announces new district superintendents

Feb. 28, 2008     News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011  
tparham@flumc.org    Orlando {0805}

NOTE: Headshots of the Revs. Sharon Austin, Annette Pendergrass and John Powers are available at http://www.flumc.info/photo_gallery2.shtml.

An e-Review Feature
By Erik Alsgaard**

Florida Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker has announced the appointment of three new district superintendents, effective July 1.

The Rev. Sharon G. Austin will serve the South Central District, following the Rev. Albert Blomquist, who will be appointed to a local church after serving seven years as superintendent. The Rev. Annette Pendergrass will serve the North Central District, succeeding the Rev. Geraldine W. McClellan, who will be appointed to a local church after serving as superintendent since 2000. And the Rev. John R. Powers will serve the Gulf Central District, following the ministry of the Rev. E. Wayne Curry, who has served as superintendent since 2001 and will be appointed to a local church.

Rev. Sharon Austin

Whitaker said all three new superintendents come with years of “fruit-bearing ministry, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Austin currently serves Cason United Methodist Church in Delray Beach. She is the first woman ordained in the 95-year history of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., home church and former pastorate of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the first woman to serve on the staff of that church. She joined the Florida Conference in 1997 and has served three congregations, becoming the first woman and first African-American to serve in each church.

Austin has served in many leadership areas, including on the Tampa and Atlantic Central District vision and transformation teams, conference Preaching Institute, and Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. She is an active member of the Delray Beach Clergy Association, an interfaith religious organization, where she serves as co-president. In the civic arena she is a member of the Delray Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Delray, the Mayor’s Task Force on Race Religions, the Zion Study Circle and the Police Advisory Board.

Rev. Annette Pendergrass

Austin and her husband, Michael, will celebrate their 31st anniversary this year, and they have four children, Nicholas, Genise, Erin and Desiree.

Pendergrass, a native Floridian, comes to the district from First United Methodist Church of Ormond Beach, where she has served since January 2005. She was ordained an elder in the Florida Conference in 1989 and has served churches in Jacksonville, Miami Springs and Orlando.

A graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Pendergrass has served on several district committees of ordained ministry and on the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry since 1996, where she has served as chairwoman since 2004.

Pendergrass and her husband, Scott, have been married for 24 years and have three children, Kyle, Jacob and Daniel.

Born and raised in Jacksonville, John Powers is a graduate of Candler School of Theology and holds a post-graduate diploma from Urban Theology Unit, Sheffield, England.

Rev. John Powers

After seminary, Powers served Nebraska Avenue United Methodist Church in Tampa and then as director of Miami Urban Ministries. While there, he was the first recipient of the Religious Leader of the Year award given by the Haitian Refugee Center of South Florida. He served the next 10 years at First United Methodist Church of Hobe Sound and is currently in his 10th year leading First United Methodist Church of Oviedo.

In his ministry, Powers has served as chairman of the Florida Advisory Board of the National Farm Workers Ministry, the Immigration Refugee and Asylum Committee of Church World Service, and Policy Board of Florida IMPACT. Currently, he serves as chairman of the East Central District’s Church and Community Connection.

Powers and his wife, Sharon, have been married for 27 years and have two sons, Mark and Steven.

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*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.


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