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Cowart, Martin and Kolde to Lead FMCUSA as Bishops

GC23 elects and consecrates the next Board of Bishops.

By Jeff Finley

Focal Point | Light+Life MagazineGeneral Conference 2023 delegates elected Pastors Edward Kenneth “Kenny” Martin and Kaye Kolde and re-elected Bishop Keith Cowart to serve as the three members of the Free Methodist Church USA Board of Bishops for the next four years. The bishops were elected Wednesday, July 26, and consecrated Friday, July 28. (Click here to watch video of the election, and click here to watch the consecration service.) 

In the third round of voting for the first bishop to be elected from the seven bishop candidates, Bishop Cowart was re-elected with 52 percent of the votes. He was initially elected to the Board of Bishops at General Conference 2019.

On the next vote, more than 50 percent of delegates selected Martin, who will become the denomination’s first African American bishop. He is the lead pastor of the Kingdom Cathedral church plant in San Bernardino, California. He previously served as the executive pastor of leadership development for Chapel of Change in Paramount, California, and as lead pastor of John Wesley Free Methodist Church in Indianapolis along with leading Free Methodist congregations in Maryland and Missouri.

After five rounds of voting for the third bishop selection with a pause in voting for prayer, nearly 53 percent of delegates chose Kolde as the third member of the Board of Bishops. Bishop-elect Kolde is the lead pastor of The Arbor Church in Spring Arbor, Michigan. She previously served as the executive pastor of ministry, the pastor of connections, and pastor of discipleship at Sage Hills Church in Wenatchee, Washington.

Lead Bishop

According to the Book of Discipline, “Following the election of the bishops, the Bishops Search Committee shall convene to name a Lead Bishop and bring its recommendation to the General Conference for its affirmation prior to the conclusion of the General Conference.”

Bishops Search Committee Co-Chair Alex Soto told delegates Friday, “We are pleased to announce the new lead bishop for this quadrennium and present it to this body as Keith Cowart.”

Delegates voted 224-14 to approve Cowart as lead bishop.

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Encounter (Church Planter Mentorship)

Friday, November 10-Saturday, November 11

Durley Camp & Retreat Center

ENCOUNTER is an in-person worship, prayer and training experience that teaches the strategies for multiplication. You will be equipped to plant a church and start a movement of churches in creative spaces and places. Encounter is followed by a coaching and mentoring journey designed to guide you in the five strategies for planting churches.

Registration is free. The cost to cover meals and lodging is $50, made payable to Gateway Conference, 1501 Chicago Drive, Greenville, IL 62246.

Click here to register

Durley 2023 Summer Camp Schedule

September 1-20-Senior Teen Weekend: Labor Day Retreat (Grades 9-12)

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

November 10-11-Encounter (Church Planter Mentorship)

Click here for more information

The word MINISTRY written in vintage letterpress type

Superintendent's Schedule:

August 20-Membership Class, Dahlgren, IL

August 22-Joint BOA/MEGA Meeting, HIllsboro FMC

November 10-11-Encounter (Church Planter Mentorship)

Our Mission:




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