Bishop Tracy S. Malone Becomes 1st Black Woman President Of The United Methodist Church’s Council Of Bishops

The United Methodist Church has reached a historic milestone by appointing Bishop Tracy S. Malone as the first Black woman president of its Council of Bishops (COB). Malone, the resident bishop of the East Ohio Conference, graciously accepted the mantle from outgoing President Bishop Thomas Bickerton before a gathering of nearly 800 delegates and observers at the General Conference on April 30, according to The United Methodist Church. “I am honored to serve as the President of the Council of Bishops in the midst of these challenging and hope-filled times in the life of our beloved United Methodist Church,” she said during the conference as she embraced the sacred responsibility bestowed upon her. “Fresh winds of God’s spirit are moving across the Church and creating missional pathways for the next visible expression and witness of The United Methodist Church.”

East Ohio Conference News stated that Malone’s two-year term as president will conclude in May 2026, providing steadfast leadership during this transformative period for the denomination.

Introducing her Episcopal colleagues, Malone highlighted Bishop Ruben Saenz as the new president-designate and Bishop L. Jonathan Holston commencing his second term as secretary. “We celebrate what God has done and what God is doing as we, together as a Council, lead and help to shepherd this beautiful, beloved United Methodist Church into its next expression, God’s vision for God’s Church,” Malone said.

The executive team is further fortified by Bishop Gregory V. Palmer as the new executive secretary, and retired Bishops Hope Morgan Ward and Rosemary Wenner serve as co-ecumenical officers, fostering relationships across denominations.

Bishop Malone accepted her new role and was encouraged by God’s plans for the present and future of The United Methodist Church. “I am prepared to bring all of who I am and my gifts, wisdom, and experience to my role as President of The Council of Bishops and to my leadership and role in the Church,” she said.

Malone was officially elected as president during the COB meeting at Lake Junaluska in November 2023.

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