The Steering Committee meets annually to carry out the business of the World Methodist Council during the Quinquennium. It is made up of the Committee / Officers, Standing Committee Chairs, Regional Presidents, and three Affiliate (non-voting) members. Staff, which includes the General Secretary, Geneva Secretary, and Director of Development, are also non-voting members.
This leadership group oversees the operation of the Council. It completes the Council’s work through the use of the Officers and Standing Committee members. It serves the Program Committee for the World Methodist Council Conference, which is held every five years at different world locations. Chairs of committees report on the success and needs of each respective committee to the Steering Committee at its annual meeting.
Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams
Ivan has served as a minister in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MSCA) since 1977. He holds the distinction of being the youngest Superintendent Minister and Bishop in the MCSA. He has served as chairperson of many civic and ecumenical organizations, amongst others, The South African Church Leaders Forum, Southern Africa – United States Centre for Leadership and Public Values, Civil Society Forum and South African National Religious Leaders Forum. He also served on the Executive Committees of The South African Council of Churches, The Namibian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
From 2003-2012, Bishop Abrahams served as Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern. During his tenure he provided prophetic leadership which ushered in a new era of the church’s collaboration with national and international non-governmental agencies in the fight against HIV/AIDS and poverty. His capstone achievement was the formation and successful completion of the multimillion rand legacy project, the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary.
Ivan has served the WMC in various capacities since 1986. He is a graduate of Rhodes University, The University of Cape Town, The University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Pacific School of Religion. He is married to Esme and they have three children and three grandchildren.
Rev. Dr. J.C. Park
Rev. Dr. Jong Chun (JC) Park is Korean Methodist pastor serving the Methodist Theological University in Seoul for 30 years in the position of professor and president. He graduated from Emory University and received a Ph. D in Systematic Theology. He has published five books and many articles. His most recent academic work is Systematic Theology as Church Didactics: theologia cordis dei.
JC’s first experience of WMC was the 1981 Singapore conference. He has been the chair of theological education committee of WMC as well as the co-chair of Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies. JC is a prominent Christian leader working for the Methodist churches in Asia and the ecumenical churches in Korea. He is committed to revitalizing churches through affirming the worldwide Methodist unity in fulfilling the Great Commission to make disciples through vibrant evangelism and prophetic engagement.
Ms. Gillian Kingston
Gillian was born and educated in Cork, Ireland. She has been interim Vice President of the World Methodist Council during the last quinquennium. She served on the International Commission for Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Methodist Council from 1986-2006 and was Chair of the Program Committee for the World Methodist Conference in Seoul, South Korea in 2006.
The first lay person to serve as Convenor of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church in Ireland, she was also the first person to appointed Lay Leader of the Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland (2010-2013). She is a former President of the Irish Council of Churches and of Irish-Inter Church Meeting; she is also a former President of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Moderator of CTBI’s Church Representatives Meeting. She is a member of the chaplaincy team at University College, Dublin, and leads a walking team from that university on the Camino de Santiago every year.
Mr. Kirby Hickey
Kirby is a retired businessman having owned and operated a Toyota dealership, an automobile leasing and Rental Company and an office furniture and design company. Throughout his business career he served in various capacities at local, state and national related business organizations. He is a past president of his local Rotary Club.
He has served his local UM church as Finance Chair, Trustee Chair and Lay member to Annual Conference along with being a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conference. He serves his Annual Conference as President of the Stewardship Foundation, member of Finance Committee and member of Investment Committee.
He has a degree in Business Administration from Keystone College and a degree in Economics from Moravian College. His affiliation with the WMC started in 1991 in Singapore and he formally served as Interim Director of Achieving the Vision (ATV).
He serves as Treasurer/CFO of the World Methodist Council since being elected in Durban, SA.
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
Rosemarie Wenner was born in and grew up in Eppingen, nurtured by a small UMC congregation in southern Germany. She studied at the United Methodist Theological Seminary in Reutlingen and served as pastor of congregations in Karlsruhe-Durlach, Hockenheim and Darmstadt-Sprendlingen before her appointment as superintendent of the Frankfurt District in 1996.
In February 2005, she was elected bishop at the Germany Central Conference in Wuppertal – the first woman elected to the United Methodist episcopacy outside of the United States.
Bishop Wenner is married to Tobias Wenner and they live in Nussloch, Germany.
Rev. David Bush
David’s faith was formed in small country church of a dozen adults and 30 children. He is an ordained Presbyter of the Methodist Church of New Zealand for 38 years. Although he has been appointed to city congregations and served as President and now as General Secretary for eight years, he has never forgotten the importance of the small congregation.
He served an initial term Officer of the Steering Committee in the 2011 -16 quinquennium. He is married to Lynda and they have three adult children and two granddaughters. He is a keen recreational cyclist and enjoy gardening and reading.
Ms. Christine Elliott
Christine Elliott is a New Zealander who has been living in Great Britain for more than 25 years. She is committed to the worldwide Methodist family and has worked with many WMC member churches, especially those in the Asia Pacific region having served as Area Secretary for the MCB. She has also served on the European Methodist Council as one of its co-chairs, 2008-2012.
Christine has deep connections with the ecumenical movement and currently is the International Director for Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. In this role there is a particular focus on the churches and the fragile situation for Christians in the Middle East. At present she is particularly engaged with the current refugee and migrant crisis facing Europe.
Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst
Rev. Dr. Jean G. Hawxhurst currently serves as The United Methodist Council of Bishops’ Ecumenical Staff Officer for Leadership Development. She holds a BA in mathematics and education from the University of Richmond, an MDiv from Lexington Theological Seminary, and a DMin in theology from Louisville Theological Seminary. She also holds a certificate of graduate studies from the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey. She was ordained an elder in the Kentucky Annual Conference in 1997. Since then she has served three local congregations, as a District Superintendent, and now as ecumenical staff for the bishops. She considers this current appointment a ministry and believes strongly the call for ecumenism among the churches today is critical to our witness on behalf of Christ.
Bishop Paulo Lockmann
Paulo de Tarso Oliveira Lockmann has been a member of the Presbyter Order of the Methodist Church in Brazil since 1978 and was elected Bishop of the First Ecclesiastical Region (Rio de Janeiro) in 1987. He has been re-elected four times. Bishop Lockmann was the former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Brazil from January 1988-December 2001. He also has served as the President of the Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches in Latin American and Caribbean (CIEMAL). He has authored several books and Bible studies. His experience with the World Methodist Council includes his service as a member of the Presidium of the World Methodist Council for the period of 1996-2001, service as Vice-President 2006-2011 and a member of the Committee on Evangelism since 1990. Bishop Lockmann has a deep evangelistic passion and the Rio Ecclesiastical Region has grown from 25,000 members to 100,000 in 2010.
Born in the south of Brazil, Lockmann speaks both Portuguese and German and obtained his Ph.D. at both the Marbourg Theological School in Germany and the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. He is married to Gloucia and they have four children.
Rev. Dr. George Mulrain
George received formation for the Methodist Ministry in Jamaica. He was first stationed as a Circuit Minister in Haiti, after which a Tutor at one of the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, UK, a Recognized Lecturer of the University Of Birmingham, from which he holds the M.Phil. in Education, the Diploma in Pastoral Studies and the PhD in Theology. In 2003 the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA) appointed him Connexional President. He served for nine years.
Presently he superintends a Circuit in Jamaica. A guitarist and composer of folk hymns, he is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.
Rev. Samuel Murillo
Rev. Murillo holds a Licenciatura in Theological Studies from the Seminario Metodista “Juan Wesley” and is completing the Master’s degree in Theological Studies at the Comunidad Teologica de Mexico. He has a wide range of ecumenical experiences including serving as a Steward for the World Council of Churches and as the Director in Mesoamerica for Youth Ministries for the Consejo de Iglesias Evangelicas Metodistas de America Latina y el Caribe (CIEMAL). Prior to assuming the role of President of WMC’s Youth and Young Adults, he was a member of the Youth and Young Adult Committee.
Mr. Joshua Rathnam
Joshua Rathnam is a layman from India. He studied in the Prestigious Wesley School & College of Hyderabad. He was a member of the Wesley Church Secunderabad in the famous Medak Diocese built by Charles Walker Posnett of the English Wesleyan Methodist order. During his college days, he entered politics as student leader and was also actively involved in Youth for Christ Ministry where he served as the President and the National Board member. He chaired a Mission organization Grace Outreach Ministries.
As a social and political activist, he is involved in many issues concerning minority communities at the state and National level. He served as the Secretary of The Minority Department of the ruling Political party at the State level and is currently serving as the Special Executive Officer Government of Maharashtra. He runs an Education Institute as the Director and currently serves on the Board of Converge South Asia and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association India Board. He was elected to the Strategic Planning Committee in Sydney Australia and to the Nomination Committee in Chile and an officer in Durban South Africa.
Bishop Darryl Starnes
Darryl is the Presiding Bishop, Mid-West Episcopal District, AME Zion Church. He obtained a B.A. History, Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC, a M. Div. Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury, and a D. Min., Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL.
He has been 23 years in pastoral ministry and served as Director of Evangelism for 12years and 8 years as a bishop. He currently chairs the Wesleyan Commission on Evangelism, the Denomination’s Church Growth and Development Board and is Secretary of Evangelism, North American Section of the WMC
He has published the following Books: Not Ashamed of the Gospel, 21st Century Christians Under Construction and For the Perfecting of the Saint. He and his wife, Camille, have three children and seven grandchildren
Archbishop Michael Stephen
Michael Stephen was born in Afon Iiorin in the present Kwara State of Nigeria. He earned his Master’s degree at Emory University, Chandler School of Theology in 1980.
The Conference of Methodist Church Nigeria elected him as Bishop of the Diocese of Remo where he served from1991-1966, after which he was appointed General Secretary, a position he held for ten years.
Since 2006 Archbishop Stephen serves Archbishop of Ibadan. He is also Chair of the Christian Council of Nigeria, South West Zone, Executive Director of Churches in Action for Peace and Development and he provides leadership for the Project for Christian Muslim Relations in Africa.
Archbishop Stephen has been involved in the World Methodist Council since 1986 and serves as a Trustee for the Old Epworth Rectory and Interim Chair of the Africa Methodist Council. He is married to Felicia and they have two adult children, Oluwakemi and Oluwafemi.
Standing Committee Chairs
Rev. Tony Franklin-Ross
The Rev. Tony Franklin-Ross a presbyter/elder for the Methodist Church New Zealand, he is Synod Co-superintendent where 70 percent of the parishes are ecumenical partnerships. He is also SuperintendentPresbyter of Trinity Methodist, which is a four-way ecumenical covenant of Anglican, Methodist,Presbyterian and Roman Catholic traditions. He also serves the New Zealand Connexion on Faith andOrder, is the representative for the Council of Conference, and represents the New Zealand church’s bi-cultural partnership.
The chair brings a range of practical and ecumenical backgrounds to his new role. A graduate of BosseyEcumenical Institute, he has served as a tutor and has participated in a US State Department mini-Fulbright program on religious pluralism and church-state relations. Franklin-Ross has been a contributorand participant in World Methodist Council, World Council of Churches and Global Christian Forummeetings.
Franklin-Ross is a member of the Methodist-Roman Catholic bilateral dialogue in New Zealand and co-chair of the Anglican Methodist dialogue. He has recently chaired New Zealand’s first trilateral dialogue,which was on the ministry of deacons in the Anglican, Methodist and Roman Catholic traditions. Heparticipated in the Fourth International Conference on Receptive Ecumenism in Canberra, Australia andin the fourteenth Oxford Institute of Methodist Theologians, in a Discernment and Radical EngagementConference organized by the World Council for Mission in Taiwan. He also attended the Global Networkfor Theology Conference in Bamberg, Germany and a conference in Durham, UK, for the 450thanniversary of the Northern Uprising in England relating to Anglican-Roman Catholic relations.
Rev. Oyvind Helliesen
is a UMC district superintendent in Norway and also Dean of the Cabinet. He is a member of the Judicial Council 2016-2020. Born in Stavanger, Norway, he has served local churches for several decades and has been a Superintendent prior to his present appointment. He was elected to the Central and General conferences and was one of the editors of the adapted Book of Discipline for his Central Conference. He has worked with the UMC in Liberia, Zimbabwe, and Angola. He is a trained mentor and is working in this capacity with several denominations. He is the liaison for the Host Committee and WMC Steering Committee for the upcoming 22nd Conference. He is married to Tove and has three children and five grandchildren.
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton
Bishop Teresa Snorton is presiding bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District (Alabama/Florida), Ecumenical Officer/Endorser in the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church.
She is President of Churches Uniting in Christ, Chair of the Pan-Methodist Commission, Chair of the Family Life Committee of the World Methodist Council, and a member of the Board of Directors of the World Methodist Evangelism, Inc.
She serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Miles College, a member of the Advisory Board for Candler School of Theology at Emory University, the Board of Trustees of the Interdenominational Theological Center and the Board of Trustees of the Phillips School of Theology.
Rev. Dr. Amelia Koh-Butler
Ordained by the Uniting Church in Australia as a Minister of the Word, Amelia has served in Congregational, Synod and National roles over 25 years. Formerly an opera-singer, she turned to ethnomusicology to develop ecclesial missiology practice. Her research explored the relationship of story, song, and sacrament to grow mission communities. She did a B.Mus. and Grand Dip. at Sydney Conservatorium, Grand Music Studies at Guildhall School in London and Paris, Masters in Ministry at Charles Sturt University and a Doctor of Missiology at Fuller Theological Seminary.
With Australian-Chinese-Scottish roots, Amelia has worked in seven countries and speaks several languages. She serves as Executive Officer for Mission Resourcing for the Uniting Church in South Australia, with responsibilities for covenanting with Indigenous Peoples, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Mission-Ministry, Justice, International Mission and Intergenerational Discipleship.
Rev. Dr. Reynaldo Leão Neto
Reynaldo was born in Brazil. He started his ministry as a19 year old student and later moved to the UK to work with ecumenical and inter-faith relations.
He is now a Superintendent Minister in London. He got his PhD from the Centre for the Studies of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Birmingham University. He was chairperson for 9 years of the Grassroots Interfaith Programme, Luton, UK. He is a member of the Brent Multi Faith Forum Steering Committee and was a member of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Dialogue Commission for the last quinquennium. He is a Research Fellow, Queen’s College, Birmingham UK.
Dr. Amos Nascimento
Amos Nascimento lived, studied, and worked in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, and the United States. As a lay leader, he has served Argentinean, Brazilian, German, and US American Methodist churches in various capacities, being now affiliated with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.
He has held several academic positions and is now associated with the Methodist University of Piracicaba (Brazil) and the University of Washington (USA). Dr. Nascimento authored and edited books and articles on various subjects, but he presently focuses on promoting Methodist education in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.
Bishop Chibuzo Raphael Opoko
Chibuzo hails from Umuchi Nkata Ibeku, Abia State, Nigeria. He attended the Universities of Calabar, Reading, Manchester and London where he obtained an M.Sc Disability and Social Welfare;
He currently serves as Secretary of Conference, Methodist Church Nigeria, Member, Board of Trustees, Methodist Church Nigeria, Member, Board of Trustees, Wesley University Ondo; Social Welfare Officer, Welfare Institute Uzuakoli, Project Director, Leprosy Rehabilitation Centre Uzuakoli; Member, WCC Central, Executive and Steering Committees, Hon. Commissioner, WCC Commission of Churches in International Affairs (CCIA), Member WCC/UNICEF Core Group; Council Member WMC, Member, Nominations Committee, WMC; Attended Conferences of MC Zimbabwe, MC Britain, MC Ghana, and Swannick Conference; Delegate to 10th AACC Assembly, Uganda, 10th WCC Assembly, South Korea, and 20th WMC, South Africa. Attended Consultations on Persecution in (Albania); on Modern Day Slavery-Sri-Lanka, Film: Tool for Evangelism (Umuahia)
Ms. Lissa Belle Ramos Brown
Ms. Brown is the Vice Chairperson for the Youth of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and serves as General Secretary for the Ecumenical Youth Council. She also served as Youth Representative to the IEMELIF Consistory of Elders and has held various roles in IEMELIF groups at the Local and District levels.
Rev. Dr. Paul Swarup
Paul is the Presbyter in Charge of the Cathedral Church of the Redemption, Diocese of Delhi, of the Church of North India.
He holds a PhD in OT/ Dead Sea Scrolls from the University of Cambridge, UK. He is a member of the fifteen member International team of translators of the New International Version (NIV), the Committee of Bible Translation (CBT). He was one of the OT editors of the one volume South Asia Bible Commentary (SABC) recently released and has written the commentaries on Exodus, Proverbs, Jeremiah and Lamentations in it. He is married to Nina (Nalini) and they have one son Daniel who is fifteen now.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
Debra Wallace-Padgett has served as bishop in the Birmingham area of the United Methodist Church since her election in 2012. Prior to then, she served in Kentucky for 29 years in various ministry roles, these include Board of Ministries; Local Pastors team chair, Methodist Homes Board chair, Kentucky Conference Education chair; Kentucky Episcopal Committee chair; Primary Task Team; Children and Poverty Board; General Commission on the Status and Role of Woman Board and the World Methodist Council.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett is a graduate of Berea College (BA), Scarritt College and Graduate School (MA), Lexington Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Asbury Theological Seminaries (D.Min). She and her husband, Reverend Lee Padgett, have two young adult children Leanndra and Andrew. Lee, a deacon in the United Methodist Church, serves as Executive Director of Sumatanga Camp and Conference Center.
Bishop John F. White, Sr.
is the presiding Bishop of the Fourth District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was in 2012 to the 28th the Eighteenth District comprising the countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Swaziland. After the passing of Bishop Sarah F. Davis, he was assigned Bishop White to the 16thal District, which includes the countries of Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, Barbados, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, France, and England. Bishop White also serves as the denomination’s Chairperson of the Commission on Christian Education and is a member of the World Council of Churches’ Executive Committee and WCC Central Committee. A native of Boynton Beach, Florida, he has served as an educator in Florida’s Duval and Palm Beach County School districts, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Edward Waters College and as a member of the ITC Continuing Education faculty. He has pastored churches in Florida and Georgia. He has aided in fund-raising for facilities, to aid youth and other important causes.
Bishop White is married to Penny Hartsfield White and they are the parents of five children and nine grandchildren.
Rev. Steve Hickle
Rev. Steve Hickle, a native of Iowa, has served the United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Annual Conference since 1975, a local church pastor in four settings spanning 37 years. He is past board member and chair of Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) and worked as Faith Outreach Director there, 2012-2016. An eagle scout, Steve has also served as a chaplain at Philmont Scout Ranch three times. Through Church World Service, he has worked in community CROP Walks for the Hungry for 40 years. He is married (Peggy), has a son (Jesse and Sarah Ellen), a granddaughter (Genevieve), and a grandson (RJ). He has led WesleyMen since 2016 and been involved since 2013.
Rev. Kim Reisman
Kimberly Reisman is Executive Director of World Methodist Evangelism, a ministry that brings the global Methodist/Wesleyan family of Christians together around the work of multiplying witnesses for Jesus Christ. An author, pastor, teacher and theologian, Kim is a frequent speaker, focusing on evangelism, spiritual formation, women’s ministries, leadership development and the intersection between faith and culture. She is an elder in the United Methodist Church and has written numerous books, most recently, The Christ-Centered Woman: Finding Balance in a World of Extremes (2013, Abingdon Press).
You can read Kim’s blogs here on Mondays and Wednesdays and can find a variety of her work both here and at the World Methodist Evangelism website.
Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, Kim lived in California, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and Connecticut before moving to Indiana in 1993. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Emory University, a Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a PhD in theology from Durham University in the United Kingdom.
Kim serves on the World Methodist Council Steering Committee, is a senior Harry Denman fellow, and an Adjunct Professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington, and United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Kim lives with her husband, John, in West Lafayette, Indiana. They have three adult children, Nathan, Maggie and Hannah.
Rev. Alison Judd
The Rev. Alison Judd is the World President for World Federation of Methodist and UnitingChurch Women. Twenty years ago, the verse Acts 1:8 became very important to me. ‘But youwill receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses inJerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ Since then, I have indeed beenenabled to witness God at work ‘here, there and everywhere’.
I am grateful to the Methodist Church for helping to make that possible. Through myinvolvement with the Methodist women’s movements in Britain, I have enjoyed opportunities tomeet women across Britain and Ireland, further afield in India and Sri Lanka and at the WorldAssemblies in South Korea and Johannesburg. As a mission partner with my husband, Les, Iserved in Barbados, MCCA and attended the Area Seminar in Panama. I was World FederationArea President for Britain and Ireland 2011-2016, working alongside our sisters in Europe:Continental to arrange our Area Seminar in Italy.
Now I find that God is leading me on to further responsibilities as your World President. I amgrateful to God for the strong team I have been given to serve alongside. There is much to do tobe faithful to the vision of Helen Kim, our founder. Together, we must continue to build a strongsisterhood of women who will ‘Know Christ and make Him known’ and strive to rid the worldof poverty, injustice and violence. I look forward to coming to your Area Seminars anddiscovering how God is already at work in your communities. I will do my best to serve in thestrength God gives me. I value your prayers.