AC2023 Speakers

President Candace Lewis, Gammon Seminary

Opening Worship, Friday, June 16, 2023 at 10:30am

Rev. Dr. Candace M. Lewis is the 17th President-Dean of Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She is Gammon’s First Female President-Dean in its 138-year history. She served as a District Superintendent of the Gulf Central area of the Florida Annual Conference from 2016 – March 2021. She had oversight of 89 pastors and churches. Prior to becoming a Superintendent, she served as the Executive Director of Path1 New Church Starts at Discipleship Ministries in Nashville, TN. She is a relentless advocate for revitalizing existing churches and creating new places for new people through planting new churches and new faith communities. She also serves as a consultant, coach, and resource person to Bishops, Conference Leaders, Church Planters and Pastors in starting and revitalizing congregations. She started ministry as a church planter and is the founding Pastor of the New Life Community UMC, where she served from 1997 – 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Rev. Lewis received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida majoring in Speech Communications in 1990. Upon graduation she was awarded the Distinguished Outstanding Female Student Leader Award for excellent service in leadership while at the University of Florida.

The call to ministry came when she was twenty-two years old and she obediently followed God, accepted the call and enrolled in Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia to begin preparation. Four years later, she received the Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling. In June 2000, she graduated from the Harvard Divinity School’s Summer Leadership Institute on Faith based Community Economic Development. In 2004 and 2008 she was elected by her peers to serve as a delegate to the General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences of the United Methodist Church. She has traveled extensively in mission and ministry to countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Hong Kong, China and Ghana, South Korea and Germany and Israel.

Doctor Lewis has been in full time ministry for twenty four years and is an excellent teacher and preacher of God’s word. She received her Doctorate in Ministry degree in Church Leadership Excellence at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC in May 2014. Candace co-authored her first book, Resurgence – Navigating the Changing Ministry Landscape, a church leadership resource, published Fall 2018. Candace enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, walking, jogging and participating in 5k and 10k races to push herself, listening to music, travel and meeting new people. God has given to her a powerful message to the body of Christ, which she delivers under the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

 Rev. Dr. Martyn Atkins, British Methodist Church

Bible Study Leader, Friday, June 16, 2023 at 3:30pm

Rev. Dr. Martyn Atkins is a British Methodist minister who has spent the past year serving the Florida Conference at Lighthouse UMC in Boca Grande. Prior to that he served in Britain as a local church pastor, most recently at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster with close associations with Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, where he was chaplain to its Methodist Members. He was General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Britain between 2007 and 2015, in which role he regularly attended the UMC Council of Bishops as a guest. Prior to that he was professor of mission and evangelism and subsequently President of Cliff College, a Methodist Training College. A supporter of Fresh Expressions since its beginnings in 2004, he was its Chair for several years. He has written a number of books mainly about Methodist discipleship, mission, evangelism, FX and preaching. He has taught and spoken in over 20 countries, is married with a grown family and (currently) four grandchildren.

Rev. Laura Auten, Uwharrie District Superintendent

Celebration of Life Memorial Service, Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 11am

Rev. Laura H. Auten grew up in Bethlehem, North Carolina. A life-long United Methodist, she has pastored churches in the Western North Carolina Conference since 1990 in the Todd, Edneyville, Cramerton, High Point, and Ranlo communities. She has served as the Uwharrie District Superintendent for the past 8 years. Laura is a 1987 graduate of Pfeiffer University with a B.A. in Religion and Christian Education. Laura received her Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in 1990. Laura and her husband, Jeff, enjoy traveling, yard work, reading, art, and the many children in their lives.