This Sunday, November 13, we will welcome to HMUMC our new episcopal leader for the North Georgia Annual Conference, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson. Actually, she prefers to be called “Bishop Sue,” which, I have to admit, felt kind of strange to me at first. Being old-fashioned and more than a little inhibited, I just wasn’t comfortable calling my bishop by her first name, even when her title precedes it.
But then I heard her reasoning. In explaining her preference, she said that, first, she does not care for pretense of any sort, and, second, “Bishop Haupert-Johnson” is a “mouthful,” especially for children, and she wants everyone to feel comfortable addressing her, especially children. It’s hard to argue with such gracious reasoning.
So, Bishop Sue will preach this Sunday at 11 a.m. and consecrate with us our new Worship Center. Our district superintendent, the Rev. Dana Everhart, will also join us. This Service of Consecration promises to be a holy moment for us, as we pray over the building and furnishings that will serve the worship of God and the proclamation of Christ’s Good News for years to come. We will also recognize and thank those who led us in this building project. It promises to be a day of many blessings (The 8:00 and 9:15 services will continue as scheduled, with me as the preacher).
Bishop Sue is a native of Florida, where she graduated from the University of Florida and the University of Florida Law School. She was a federal law clerk and a litigator with the Tampa law firm of Carlton/Fields, then answered her call to ministry and attended Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. She served several appointments in the Florida Annual Conference, including Hillsborough UMC in Tampa, Cape Coral First, and Ocala First. Finally, she was district superintendent of Florida’s North Central District before being elected to the episcopacy this summer during the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. She began her work among us North Georgians in September.
Bishop Sue is married to the Rev. Allen Johnson, and they have one daughter, Samantha, who is 15.
It is a privilege to have Bishop Sue lead our service of consecration. I hope you will be on hand to offer her a gracious Hamilton Mill welcome.