United Methodists in the West Virginia Area (and conference) have a new episcopal leader, and for the first time, it is a woman.
The Rev. Dr. Sandra Steiner Ball was elected bishop July 18 by the Northeastern Jurisdiction (NEJ) of the United Methodist Church (UMC), and assigned to the West Virginia Area July 20. Her official duties begin on September 1, 2012.
The NEJ is one of five regional jurisdictions of the nation’s second-largest protestant denomination, and includes 11 northeastern states and the District of Columbia.
Steiner Ball brings extensive experience as a leader and pastor to the episcopacy. She serves currently as the Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM) for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference. She has been a District Superintendent, Pastor, and General Conference delegate. In addition to her administrative duties as a DCM, she recently served as interim pastor at Bayside Chapell, a new church start.
The bishop’s passion is congregational development. “Revitalizing congregations and developing new faith communities is really important to the future of the United Methodist Church,” she said. Steiner Ball also believe that laity must be “empowered and deployed to lead the church.”
Steiner Ball is married to Rev. Barry D. Ball, and the couple has two daughters, Sarah and Becky.
The West Virginia Area (and conference) is comprised of all but three eastern panhandle counties in West Virginia and Garrett County, Md. More people worship at United Methodist Churches in West Virginia than any other protestant denomination in the state.
Every four years, United Methodists gather to elect new bishops for the church. The UMC is divided into five geographic jurisdictions in the United States, three of which elected and assigned bishops this week. Visit elections.umc.org to learn more about who was elected bishop, and listen to the new bishop speak about congregational development at nej12stories.tumblr.com.
*About the author: Laura Allen is director of communications for the West Virginia Annual Conference. Read the official media release.
Photo: Bishop elect Sandra Steiner Ball. Photo: Laura Allen
For more information on how to send greetings to Bishop Steiner Ball, or for questions on her transition, please see this letter from Assistant to the Bishop, Rev. Dr. Bill Wilson.