Bishop Holston has served the Columbia Episcopal Area for 10 years – since his election and consecration at the 2012 SEJ Conference. Throughout this decade of service, Bishop Holston has invited United Methodists to join him in seeking a more excellent way, and keeping our focus on our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
“Felecia and I are grateful for the opportunity to continue our walk alongside South Carolina United Methodists in shared ministry, and we look forward in hope to the promise that comes with trusting, believing and knowing that God is with us.
Believing that a foundation of trust is essential, Bishop Holston prioritizes building relationships among and between clergy and laity. That has resulted in strong lay-clergy partnerships – from the local church level, through the districts and across the conference. This intentional and continuing collaboration with leaders across the conference has borne fruit in such programs and resources as Forward Focus, Our Response to Racism, the Clergy Care initiative, and Our 4 Priorities.
Bishop Holston’s mission-oriented nature has been contagious, and while serving in South Carolina he has spearheaded conference-wide initiatives focused on such issues as literacy, public education, hunger, housing, transportation and racial reconciliation. All of these “God-sized dreams” have addressed the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities and around the world.
The South Carolina Conference was represented on the Committee on the Episcopacy by Barbara Ware, the conference lay leader, and the Rev. Dr. Tim McClendon, pastor of St. John’s UMC-Aiken.
“I am thrilled and grateful that Bishop Holston will be coming back to South Carolina,” Ware said. “He has changed the landscape of our conference and been a blessing for lay and clergy.”
“In these days of unknowns in The United Methodist Church,” Rev. McClendon said, “we knew we needed a steady, calming leader to help us navigate the future. Bishop Holston keeps us focused on the current mission of the church to introduce the world to the saving and transforming work of Jesus.”
“After hours of faithful discernment by the COE, God’s will prevailed. Barbara and I were simply advocates and honored to do what we felt was best for everyone concerned. Our prayers were answered. To God be the glory!”
Bishop Holston is married to Felecia Brown Holston, and they have two adult children, Karlton Maurice and Brittany Jené.
He was elected to the episcopacy and consecrated in July 2012. At that time, he began his assignment in the South Carolina Conference (Columbia Episcopal Area). He holds a master of divinity degree in biblical studies from The Interdenominational Theological Center, Gammon Theological Seminary, in Atlanta. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in religion from the University of Georgia.
Prior to his assignment in South Carolina, he served in the North Georgia Annual Conference as senior pastor of St. James UMC (2005-2012), superintendent of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District (1997-2005), associate director of the North Georgia Conference Council on Ministries (1992-1997), senior pastor of Clifton UMC (1986-1992); and senior pastor of Marietta Street UMC (1983-1986).
In May 2015, Bishop Holston received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University. In May 2016, he was the recipient of the doctor of divinity (honoris causa) degree from Gammon Theological Seminary and an honorary doctor of humane letters (DHL) from Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, North Carolina.
He has traveled extensively as a specialist in missions to Ecuador, Uganda, Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, China and Hong Kong. He serves on the Board of Directors of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and has served on the Catastrophic Disaster Response Team and as the Church World Service Disaster Consultant in Georgia.
Bishop Holston currently serves as chairperson of the Gammon Theological Seminary Board of Trustees, chairperson of the Coordinating Committee on Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, chairperson of the Pan-Methodist Commission, director for the General Board of Global Ministries, and as a member of the boards of trustees of the Lake Junaluska Assembly, Emory University and Columbia College. He serves on the Duke Divinity School Board of Visitors, and as secretary of the Council of Bishops and the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops.