Bishop Carter Announces Cabinet Changes

January 15, 2023

By: Aimee Yeager, WNCC Director of Communications

Rev. Laura Auten is concluding eight years serving as District Superintendent of the Uwharrie District and will be returning to local church ministry effective July 1, 2023. In addition to serving as a District Superintendent, Laura has served five local churches in the Western North Carolina Conference since her ministry with the Conference began in 1990. Prior to her appointment as a District Superintendent, Laura served as pastor of Maylo in Gastonia, Lebanon in High Point, Cramer Memorial in Cramerton, and Edneyville, Upward, and Fruitland in Hendersonville. She completed her undergraduate degree at Pfeiffer University and earned a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary.

“I’ve enjoyed serving in the Uwharrie District for the past eight years,” Laura said, “walking alongside clergy and laity, who serve Christ in so many creative ways and in so many different communities. They give of themselves generously and faithfully to their many good works.”

Word cloud representing the ministries of the Uwharrie District churches during 2022

During the most recent charge conference season, Laura asked the churches of the Uwharrie District this question, “How have you put your faith into action this year?” The churches' responses were turned into a word cloud with words like “community,” “meals,” “Ukraine,” and “school,” representing the ministries of the faithful United Methodists in the Uwharrie District.

"I am grateful to Rev. Laura Auten," says Bishop Ken Carter, "for her faithful and pastoral presence to the churches and clergy of the Uwharrie District. She has encouraged congregations to be creative in establishing vital ministries with their communities. For example, the district celebrated the opening of Lydia's Place, Randolph County's first shelter for women and families experiencing homelessness in the former Calvary UMC building this past fall. For the past eight years, she has led the district more deeply into the mission of Jesus Christ in an important rural context. Her service on the cabinet has been a gift to the annual conference."
The appointive cabinet will prayerfully discern Laura’s new appointment later this spring.
Rev. Beth Crissman will succeed Laura as District Superintendent of the Uwharrie District. She will also serve the annual conference in the additional role of Director of Conflict Transformation.

“Beth is a gifted and compassionate leader,” Bishop Carter said of Rev. Crissman. “She has previous experience as a superintendent and has been an important resource for local churches engaging in the journey from conflict to healing.  She will be an excellent spiritual guide for the churches of the Uwharrie District, and a blessing to the annual conference as the Director of Conflict Transformation.”

Most recently, Beth served as Senior Pastor of West Market Street UMC in Greensboro, NC.

“During my time at West Market Street,” Beth said, “we have effectively navigated ministry adaptations during the pandemic, developed an incredible ministry team, and empowered lay leadership so that together we can develop sustainable paths forward in ministry for many years to come. All of this has enriched my call and passion of coming along beside clergy and lay leadership within the district and across the conference to fulfill our shared and connectional mission in these challenging times ahead.” 

In addition to serving as pastor of several churches in the WNCC, Beth has also served as the District Superintendent in the Blue Ridge District and with her husband, Rev. Kelly Crissman, served as the founders and directors of Plowpoint, a non-profit organization that trained teams of clergy and laity throughout the United Methodist Church for the transformation of leaders, churches, and communities. Beth is the author of four books: Longing to Belong, How We Lead, Stepping in the Stream, and Choosing the Faithful Path, and multiple other curricula to develop and strengthen disciples and leaders in the local church. Beth, a native of Graham, N.C. is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (BS Nursing), University of California-Los Angeles (MNursing-Family Nurse Practitioner), and Emory University (MDiv).

At the Bishop’s invitation, Rev. Kim Ingram has joined the appointive cabinet effective December 1, 2022.

“As Director of Ministerial Services, Rev. Kim Ingram is deeply involved in processes of calling to ordination, development of younger clergy, and evaluation of pastoral effectiveness,” Bishop Carter said. “She will bring this focus on leadership to appointive cabinet conversations.”  

Kim was consecrated a diaconal minister in the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 1992. In 1997, she was ordained deacon in full connection in the Western North Carolina Conference. Prior to serving as the Director of Ministerial Services, she served as associate minister at Aldersgate UMC in Shelby and as co-pastor of Highlands UMC. Her ministry in the Conference office began in 2007 when she served as the Interim Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. In 2008, she became the Conference Secretary, Conference Statistician, and Ordained Ministry Registrar and in 2011, the role transitioned to Director of Ministry Services and Conference Secretary.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on the appointive cabinet,” Kim shared. “In my time on conference staff, my life has been enriched through connections with clergy as they enter ministry, grow in leadership, and continue to follow God’s call. I hope to contribute to the appointive process in significant ways that ensure the continued well-being of clergy and fruitfulness of their leadership.”  

“I am confident that Kim’s presence on the appointive cabinet will be of benefit to both our appointment-making and our leadership development offerings,” Bishop Carter affirmed.

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