For Immediate Release
May 11, 2024
Contact Information

Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga, Director of Communications - Council of Bishops
(202) 748-5172 (Office)

(BPRW) Bishop Malone becomes first Black female President of COB

(Black PR Wire) Before nearly 800 delegates and hundreds of observers, Bishop Tracy S. Malone, resident bishop of the East Ohio Conference, recently took the mantle as the new president of the Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church. In so doing, she became the first Black woman in the history of the global denomination to ascend to the pinnacle of episcopacy leadership.

Bishop Malone accepted the gavel from outgoing President Bishop Thomas Bickerton to a standing ovation at the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, which is taking place at the Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.

“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.  “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.”

Bishop Malone was elected as president during the COB meeting at Lake Junaluska in November last year.  She will lead the COB for two years.

“I stand here tonight hope-full, encouraged, grateful, and excitedly expectant,” Bishop Malone said as she received the gavel at a COB meeting April 20, “for what God will do through my leadership and through our leadership together as we trust in God’s provisions for the now and the emerging next expression of The United Methodist Church.”

Bishop Malone said at that meeting that she is offering nothing less than herself to the ministry of leading the COB.

“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.

Bishop Malone, who was elected bishop in 2016, added that she has “unshakable confidence” in how the bishops will lead the “whole church,” she said.

She will lead a COB leadership Team that includes Bishop Ruben Saenz, resident bishop of the Central Texas and North Texas Conferences, as president-designate; Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference as secretary; and Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton of the New York Conference as the past president of the Council.

The other members of the COB leadership team are Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, resident bishop of the West Ohio Conference, who will become new executive secretary; and Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and Bishop Rosemary Wenner as new co-ecumenical officers. The executive secretary and ecumenical officers begin their four-year terms on September 1 of this year.

“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," Bishop Malone said.

Source: Council of Bishops