Nominating the general overseer was the first order of business for the ordained bishops general council gathered in Orlando, Florida for the 74th International General Assembly. If confirmed by the International General Assembly on Friday afternoon, Williams will replace Dr. Raymond Culpepper who was not eligible for another term due to tenure limitations.
There is no higher honor and no greater responsibility in the Church of God for an ordained bishop than to be called upon to serve in the office of General Overseer,” Williams, 48, said as he accepted the nomination. “I pledge to lead from my knees, so that I may hear from God…I will obey with unrelenting courage should the General Assembly decide this is God’s will. I commit myself unreservedly to this global (Church of God) family.”
Williams referred to his family, his wife, Sandra Kay, and sons Austin, 16, and Ryan, 11, verbalizing to them, “I will still be your dad,” to which the General Council burst into applause. “I pledge to embrace this generation.”
The General Council then went on to nominate the four remaining members of the Executive Committee, beginning with David Griffis, who was elevated to first assistant general overseer. Griffis has spent the last four years as third assistant general overseer. If confirmed, he will replace Tim Hill, who was ineligible to return to the executive committee due to tenure limitation.
I am thankful for my family and their heritage,” Griffis stated, referring to his wife, Judy, and his father who was also a Church of God minister and leader. “It is good to be a part of the family of God and I desire what is best for this Church.”
A newcomer to the Executive Committee is J. David Stephens, nominated to serve as second assistant general overseer. Stephens has led the Church of God in numerous capacities, including state director of youth and Christian education, and for the last several years as an overseer in Kentucky, Tennessee, and of Florida since 2010.
“Overwhelmed…thankful…humbled…honored…challenged…and excited,” was how Stephens summed up his nomination. “I am grateful for my legacy and I believe in my church. I will serve, I will work for, and I will depend upon your support.”
Returning to the Executive Committee and moving upward a slot to Third Assistant General Overseer, was Wallace J. Sibley, who has served as secretary general for the last four years. A third generation Church of God member, Sibley said, “I accept this nomination as the will of God…I appreciate so much what the church has meant to me.” Sibley also expressed gratitude to the outgoing members of the Executive Committee and his appreciation for their friendship and leadership.
The final member to be nominated for the Executive Committee was M. Thomas Propes, state overseer of South Carolina since 2006. If ratified by the General Assembly, Propes will become the next Secretary General of the Church of God.
“I am fourth generation Church of God…If I am cut, I think I would bleed blue and gold,” Propes joked as he made his acceptance speech. “I thank this body for the vote of confidence and trust…I will never do anything to betray that trust.”
If ratified by the General Assembly this Friday afternoon, this Executive Committee will serve until the General Assembly of 2016.