2012 African-American Women's Leadership includes:
- Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson, Director of Communications, North Texas Conference of the UMC
Dr. Sheron C. Patterson is a survivor who believes in helping others survive on an international basis. Her achievements in helping others were saluted by Ebony magazine. A sought after preacher, she has spoken at the “Women Thou Art Loosed” conference with Bishop T. D. Jakes and the Hampton Ministers Conference.
In 2006 Dr. Patterson was diagnosed with breast cancer. She turned what could have been a tragedy into a triumph by taking the public with her every step of the way. She created a radio, print and television education/inspiration campaign to help others face their health issues head on. She is now an enthusiastic health and wellness advocate and the driving force behind The Patterson Pledge, a program that motivates thousands to take control of their health. In 2007 Dr. Patterson began to collaborate with the U.S. State Department and host international delegations of breast cancer survivors for informational and inspirational visits.
In 2008 she launched Breast Cancer Builds, a program that brings survivors of breast cancer together to build a Habitat for Humanity house. Dr. Patterson calls Breast Cancer Builds a gratitude project, because she and the other survivors are grateful to God to be alive and this one way to give back. This project raises awareness about breast cancer prevention and raises funding to provide low income women with free mammograms via a second project called Mammograms for the Masses. Once Dr. Patterson learned of the disparities in the health care system she began reaching out to low income women through a partnership with two Dallas hospitals to provide not only mammograms, but breast health information as well.
Dr. Patterson is currently the Communications Officer for the North Texas Region of the United Methodist Church. In this role she edits a newspaper, directs a website, hosts the video newscast, coordinates the social media outreach, and handles all public relations, advertising and marketing.
For the past twenty years, she has served as an itinerate elder in the United Methodist Church and been appointed to senior pastor of four United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, ( Crest-Moore King, Jubilee, St. Paul and Highland Hills.) She holds the distinction of being the first African American woman to be ordained in the North Texas region of the United Methodist Church. These extraordinary accomplishments landed Dr. Patterson a place of honor in the National Women’s Museum.
- Rev. Candace Lewis, New Church Strategist, General Board of Discipleship of the UMC
Candace is an Ordained Elder from the Florida Annual Conference. Upon graduation from Gammon Theological Seminary, she was appointed to plant a new church. Candace and a team of committed laity spent 12 years successfully planting the New Life Community UMC, a new African-American congregation in Jacksonville, Florida. Candace is a sought after preacher, leader, coach, consultant and passionate servant of the church.
- Dr. Bernice Williams Kirkland, Ordained Elder in the N. Georgia UMC
Dr. Bernice Williams Kirland is an ordained elder in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church where she currently serves as the pastor of Hoosier Memorial United Methodist Church. She is the seventh pastor of this historically prominent congregation of disciples who are committed to Christ and the community. Leadership and discipleship are particular passions for this pastor who leads as a life-long learner and effective change agent. Most of all, Bernice loves God and people.
Her journey has prepared her to empower others for life and for ministry. She received the Bachelor of Science degree from Dillard University (1982), a Masters of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center (Valedictorian, 1999) and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary (2009). She also served as a Chaplain resident for two years: Emory University Hospital (2000) and the University of Tennessee Medical Center (2001). Her pastoral appointments have been diverse, including chaplain residency, cross-racial ministry and congregations experiencing historical change.
She serves the North Georgia Conference on district and conference levels in various capacities.
A native of Greenville, Mississippi, she is proud of her heritage as a Mississippi daughter. Life has equipped her. She has been happily wedded to Darryl Edgar Kirkland; a native of Detroit, Michigan for twenty-nine years. They are proud parents of two young adults: Jasmine Darniece (25) and Derek Eugene (21). She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority, National Association of Church Business Administration, and National Association of Professional Women. She also serves as the Stewardship Chairperson of the North Georgia Conference and North Georgia Chairperson of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. Her hobbies include gardening and reading. Her theme song for God’s many blessing is “To God be the Glory.”
- Lucinda Laws
Lucinda Laws is a native of Lynchburg, South Carolina. She is fondly referred to by family and friends as “Cindi.”
Lucinda is a 1977 graduate of Maywood High School in Sumter, South Carolina and a lifelong member of St. John United Methodist Church in Lynchburg. She is the owner and operator of Progressive Image Salon in Florence and a Senior Director with Unicity International.
She has served in many leadership positions in the St. John Church Family. Currently,she is a Certified Lay Speaker, Prayer Coordinator, an usher, a communion steward, and a member of St. John United Methodist Women.
Lucinda enjoys serving and working with people of all ages, but particularly enjoys the experiences she has in herrvice to young people (male and female) as Children’s Church Leader and through the Lay Speaking Ministries. Her unique burning passion is to rise and speak out for all God’s children. Thus, God has enabled her to advocate for the young, the elderly, the rich, the poor, the educated, the uneducated, the concerned, and the unconcerned in all areas of the church and community.
Lucinda believes that God calls every one of us to proclaim the presence and power of God through all that we say and do. She is committed to witnessing through church and community leadership, care-giving ministries, and spoken communication. Her personal motto is “Believe and Receive; Doubt and Do Without.”
Lucinda will be one of the Lake Junaluska Women's Leadership leaders for the Healing and Communion service. She will share from her experience the profound impact that living in a spirit of forgiveness can have upon our lives.
- Kendra Ross
Kendra has over 18 years of combined educati0onal, performance, and administrative/managerial experience in the music and entertainment industry. She currently serves as the Associate Director of Production Logistics at Universal Music Group where she has worked for ten years.
Kendra is also a singer, songwriter and independent recording artist who released her debut album, New Voice in 2007 through her own record label, Lola’s Child Music. Throughout her career as a singer and performer, she has recorded with and/or shared the stage with many legendary and acclaimed artists such as Quincy Jones, Isaac Hayes, Babyface, Lauryn Hill, Kanye West and Talib Kweli.
In addition to her love for music and entertainment, Kendra has a strong passion for working with young people. She currently volunteers as a youth Leader and Trainer for Just Us Youth (a program supported by the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church).
Though she currently calls Brooklyn, NY home, she is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. Kendra has a BM in Music Business and Technology from New York University and Master’s degrees in Liberal Studies and Anthropology from Brooklyn College and The New School for Social Research, respectively.
Kendra will serve as one of our co-leaders on relationships issues as she shares from a Young Adult perspective.
- Christal Brown-Gibson
Psalmist, Songwriter and Musician—these words describe the essence of this vessel of God. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Christal was used of the Lord at a very young age. Singing in a small Baptist Church on Johns Island, South Carolina, during her childhood was only the beginning of what God was developing in her. A continuously-developing relationship with the Lord, daily prayer and being a student of the Bible are the foundations upon which this Psalmist builds her music ministry. Her heart-felt worship transcends genders, cultures and denominational barriers.
In 2010, she received the African-American Achiever’s Award from Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Christal has been a featured artist for MOJA Arts Festival in Charleston in 2005 and 2008 and has participated in the Spoleto Festival in 2003 and 2005.. She was a guest artist for the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri in 2010 and the Guest Psalmist for the United Methodist Women’s Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2007. She recently completed a 17-day European tour in Milan, Placenza, Sicily and Messina, Italy in 2011.
Christal is the owner of Gibsong Academy of Music in Worship Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, where she offers lessons in piano, vocal arts, violin and Dance to children and adults. She currently serves as the Choir Master at St. Johns Chapel Episcopal Church on Charleston’s East Side Community.