Bishop Robin Dease is the episcopal leader of the North Georgia Conference. She was elected bishop by the 2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church and consecrated on November 4, 2022. Her first assignment as bishop is to the North Georgia Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church and she began service in North Georgia on January 1, 2023.
Bishop Dease grew up in Brooklyn, New York, one of 13 siblings. She graduated from Claflin University in Orangeburg in 1992. She earned a master of divinity degree and a doctor of ministry degree in stewardship from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Before her election to the episcopacy, Bishop Dease served as pastor and district superintendent in the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church and has been involved in numerous denominational and conference boards and committees.
Bishop David Graves serves as episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Bishop David Graves’ passion is sharing Jesus, seeing the overlooked, joining God in transforming lives, and changing the world one person at a time. His study of leadership permeates all his work as a pastor, district superintendent and bishop. As a pastor, Bishop Graves led a small-membership church to become a medium-sized congregation and later a medium-sized church to become a large-membership congregation. He has a heart and hands for missions and has led several short-term (local, national, and international) mission teams. The Acts 1:8 model for missions came alive in the churches he has served. These churches raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for mission work, plus trained laity in hands-on ministry.
As a district superintendent, Bishop Graves implemented a district strategy that empowered both clergy and laity with leadership tools for effective and vital ministry. This strategy revitalized several churches that experienced growth in worship attendance and membership; Sunday School and small group discipleship; missional giving and professions of faith. On Christmas Eve 2014, through a district offering, the Kingsport District generously gave more $230,000 for the District Partnership with Giru, South Sudan.
Bishop Graves has served as the episcopal leader of the Alabama-West Florida Conference since 2016. In addition to serving Alabama-West Florida, Bishop Graves began serving the South Georgia Conference in September 2021.
Prior to being elected a bishop in 2016, Bishop Graves served as the Senior Pastor of Church Street United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Before that, he served six years as the district superintendent for the Kingsport District of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 2011 and 2012, he served as Dean of the Cabinet. He has been an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church for over 32 years and previously served as Senior Pastor of Ooltewah United Methodist Church, a large-membership church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for 11 years. Prior, he served as pastor of two Kingsport area churches, St. Matthew and Mountain View United Methodist. He was on staff and was given his first appointment at Hixson United Methodist Church in the Chattanooga area where he served for 11 years.
Bishop Graves is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, with a Master of Divinity.
He has shared 40 plus years of marriage with his wife, Nancy, and they have two children, Casey and Gregg. Casey is married to her husband Bryan, and they reside in Kingsport with their son Brooks and daughter Lucy. Gregg resides in Chattanooga.
Rev. Dr. Rodrigo Cruz was born and raised in Monterrey Mexico where he practiced criminal law for several years before transitioning into full-time ministry in 2006. After moving to the United States with his family, he received his Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2012, became an Ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church in 2015, and received his Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2016.
In January of 2016, Rodrigo and his family launched on their living room a multi-ethnic movement of faith called The Nett Church, located in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The vision of the church is for Nations to Experience Transformation in Jesus Together, while reflecting on Sunday mornings the diversity of the school systems from Monday through Friday. In 2019, Rodrigo was voted by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as one of the 50 most influential Latinos in the State of Georgia. In 2020, Rodrigo was appointed also as the District Superintendent of the Central East District in the North Georgia Conference overseeing over 75 churches in Gwinnett, Barrow, Walton, Oconee, and Clark County, while continuing to lead The Nett Church. In 2022, The Nett Church was voted by the Outreach Magazine as one of the top 100 reproducing churches in the country. Currently the church is doing ministry in 5 campuses across Gwinnett County. In 2023, Rodrigo was voted by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce as one of the 50 most influential Latinos in the State of Georgia.
Rodrigo is married to Kelly, a California native, and together they have 5 children RJ (17 years old), Natalia (14 years old), Gabriel (11 years old), Benjamin (8 years old) and Jona (3-year-old). Rodrigo’s hobbies are his children and is constantly trying to pick up whatever interest and passions they have so he can stay constantly engaged in their lives.
Ted Goshorn weaves churches into the fabric of their communities. This work led to recognition as one of the Emory University Alumni Association’s 40 Under Forty in 2021. Such interweaving includes founding the first part-time daycare program in Dodge County; founding and shepherding the Downtown Tapestry, an interfaith community composed of nine congregations; and leading Mulberry Street United Methodist Church, where he currently serves as senior pastor, to pay off over $1,100,000 of medical debt across Georgia.
Beyond his local church, Ted engages in community leadership. He currently serves as CEO of the S3 Program, focused on clergy mental health and wellbeing, and serves on the Candler Alumni Board. Previously, Ted served as president and chair of the board of the Eastman-Dodge County Chamber of Commerce.
Ted enjoys the art of writing. In 2022, Advocate Press published Ted’s first book, Prayer Changes Us; a guide for Christians wanting to develop deeper spiritual growth through a regular prayer life. He publishes his sermon manuscripts at tedgoshorn.org.
An Elder in the South Georgia Annual Conference, Ted received his Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University; a Master of Education from James Madison University; and a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from Berry College. Prior to serving Mulberry Street, Ted served Eastman First UMC, Adairsville First UMC, Reinhardt University as chaplain, Vineville UMC as associate pastor, and the Baldwin County Circuit. Before becoming a pastor, Ted was a higher education administrator at several universities.
Ted loves adventuring and sharing time with his family. Dana, his wife, lives her calling as a public school teacher. His oldest son Jackson has found a passion for band, where he plays the trombone, and Carter, his youngest, eagerly anticipates the day he is a “sea scientist.” Together, they reside with their rambunctious boxer, Quill, in Macon.
Rev. Teresa L. Fry Brown, PhD is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, she is the fourteenth Historiographer, the editor of the A.ME. Review Executive Director of Research and Scholarship and President of the General Officers’ Council of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Fry Brown served as Director of Black Church Studies at Candler 2007-2015. Dr. Fry Brown obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Religious and Theological Studies from the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver, with an emphasis in Religion and Social Transformation (1996). She earned a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology (1988), Master of Science degree (1975) and Bachelor of Science degree (1973) in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri.
Dr. Fry Brown has extensive teaching and preaching experience in national, international academic and ecumenical settings. A prolific author, Dr. Fry Brown’s books include Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body and Animation in Proclamation, Fortress Press (2008); Can A Sister Get a Little Help: Advice and Encouragement for Black Women in Ministry, Pilgrim Press (2008); God Don’t Like Ugly: African American Women Handing on Spiritual Values Abingdon Press (2000); Weary Throats and New Song: Black Women Proclaiming God’s Word Abingdon Press (2003) and the 2006 African American History Devotional, Abingdon Press (2006). Additionally, she has published fifty other reviews, chapters, and commentaries.
Dr. Fry Brown is a member of the American Academy of Religion (Steering Committee of Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Group), Society for the Study of Black Religion, and the Academy of Homiletics (First Vice President 2021, President, December 2022). She was honored for her academic achievements at the Eighteenth Annual Black Religious Scholar Group Consultation at the American Academy of Religion (2015), Emory-Williams Distinguished Teaching Award (2017), Samuel Dewitt Proctor Beautiful Are the Feet Award (2019), and Turner Theological Seminary Lifetime Achievement Award (2021). She is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and an Associate Minister at New Bethel A.M.E. Church, Lithonia, Georgia.
A native of Independence, Missouri Dr. Fry Brown is the second oldest of seven children of (late) William M. Fry Sr. and (late) Naomi Parks Fry. She is the mother of Veronica (Jonathan) Perry and proud “Fab G” to Jonathan David Perry. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Fry Brown’s life is governed by the words of the Prophet Isaiah “Those whose hope is in the Lord gain new strength” and Zora Neale Hurston, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”