Bishop Appoints Steele to Southwest District

Bishop Gary E. Mueller has announced the appointment of the Rev. Rodney Steele as superintendent of the Southwest District, effective July 1, 2015.

Steele, who served as superintendent of the former North Central District from 2005 to 2011, currently serves as senior pastoSteele, Rodneyr of First UMC Mountain Home, as well as on the South Central Jurisdiction Episcopacy Committee, the denomination’s Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and the General Commission on Communications.

“Rodney’s administrative and pastoral gifts have long been assets to Arkansas’ United Methodist churches,” Mueller said. “I’m looking forward to having him join the Cabinet to help more congregations grow in vitality, make disciples and transform lives, communities and the world.”

Steele graduated from United Methodist-related Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, and earned his Master of Divinity degree at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. In addition to his tenure at First UMC Mountain Home, he has served in Bradley, Mineral Springs, Murfreesboro, Little Rock, Van Buren, Rogers, Texarkana and as an Air Force chaplain. He and his wife, Becky, have two grown children, Garrett and Sarah.

“I will genuinely miss this beautiful part of the state, and this incredible congregation that is so committed to mission—for example, providing children with 100,000 meals this school year—and I will miss the life-shaping experience of preaching on a regular basis,” Steele said. “But I served in the former Camden District, I came to ministry out of the Hope District, my first church job was as a summer youth minister in Arkadelphia, so in a sense I’m going back home to many places that are holy to me. I’m excited about collaborating with pastors and congregations in a very intentional way toward fulfilling our mission of making disciples, and to help them be aware of all the resources that can support those efforts.”

He succeeds the Rev. Mike Morey, who has begun a new appointment as senior pastor of First UMC Pine Bluff.

The Southwest District of Arkansas includes United Methodist congregations and ministries in 17 counties: Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Garland, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Sevier and Union.