A Lexington minister has been elected a bishop by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Debbie Wallace-Padgett, 54, minister of the St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lexington, is the first woman elected bishop from the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, said Cathy Bruce, director of communications at the Kentucky Conference.
"I consider it a privilege to serve as a bishop in the United Methodist Church," Wallace-Padgett said in an interview Thursday. "I have great hope for the future of our denomination. My vision for the denomination is for renewal, and my commitment is to do all that I can to make that vision a greater and greater reality."
Wallace-Padgett will be one of 13 active bishops in the Southeast United States. She will oversee hundreds of churches in a yet-unnamed region, said Brooke Harris, communications director at St. Luke.
An assignment committee is considering where Wallace-Padgett and other active bishops will serve for the next four years. Their assignments will be effective Sept. 1.
Wallace-Padgett said she expected to find out Thursday night where she would be assigned. She had previously served at other area United Methodist Churches and as a former district superintendent based in Prestonsburg, where she oversaw 53 churches in Eastern Kentucky.
Wallace-Padgett is married to the Rev. Lee Padgett, director of Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center in Ravenna. They have two children, Leanndra Padgett and Andrew Padgett.
Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409.Twitter: @vhspears.