Welcome, Bishop Ken Carter!

September 1, 2021

Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. is the resident bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Along with the Cabinet, he gives pastoral and administrative leadership to over 1000 congregations, fresh expressions of church, campus ministries, and outreach initiatives in an episcopal area that stretches across the 44 western counties of the state.

Bishop Carter served as the president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church from 2018-2020, and he was one of three moderators of The Commission on a Way Forward, from 2016 to 2018.   In addition to his responsibilities with the Western North Carolina Conference, he serves as the bishop of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church and as bishop-in-residence and a consulting faculty member at Duke University Divinity School.

Bishop Carter is the author of eighteen books, most recently a memoir, God Will Make a Way (Abingdon, 2021).  He has also written two books on the Fresh Expressions movement with Audrey Warren:  Fresh Expressions:  A New Kind of Methodist Church (Abingdon, 2017), and Fresh Expressions of People Over Property (Abingdon, 2020). His editorials have appeared in the Charlotte Observer, Greensboro News and Record, and Winston-Salem Journal,  and his commentary on Christianity in the United States has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and on National Public Radio.

Bishop Carter has preached in camp meetings, prisons and jails, college and university chapels, synagogues, megachurches and house churches, and in twenty countries on four continents.  He was a local church pastor in the Western North Carolina Conference for twenty-eight years. His ministry at Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte was described by the American Religious Historian Diana Butler Bass in her book, Christianity for the Rest of Us.  In the annual conference he served as chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Committee on Episcopacy, and in five delegations to Jurisdictional and General Conferences.  He has served on the Board of Visitors of Duke University Divinity School and the Institutional Review Board of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.  He earned degrees from Columbus College, Duke Divinity School, the University of Virginia, and Princeton Theological Seminary.  In addition, he is a graduate of Leadership Greensboro and Leadership Winston-Salem.

Bishop Carter’s great hope for the church is that she will rediscover an orthodox Christian faith that offers the radically inclusive grace of God to all people, and at the same time calls every follower of Jesus to inner holiness, missional compassion, justice rooted in the gospel and a hopeful story of transformation. He travels extensively across the conference, preaching in local churches and encouraging lay and clergy leaders.  

Bishop Carter and his wife Pam have been married for forty years.  Pam has served as an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, most recently in disaster recovery, and she has a deep involvement in God’s mission in Haiti.  They are blessed with two adult daughters:  Liz, a professor of Chinese at Western Washington University, and Abby, chief officer for Communications and Marketing at the University of Tennessee Southern.   Abby and her husband Allen are parents of Paige and Natalie, the bishop’s granddaughters.

In this season of assignment to two episcopal areas, the Carters reside in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida, and consider it a great blessing to serve the people of Western North Carolina.

WNCC Clergy will have two opportunities to greet Bishop Carter and enter into dialogue around the question: What is our focus as an annual conference? Or said differently, what is the one thing that is necessary? (Luke 10:41). Learn more and register for one of these virtual conversations with Bishop Carter here.

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