By Walter Fenton
February 16, 2022
Bishop Mike Lowry, recently retired leader of The United Methodist Church’s Fort Worth Episcopal Area, has joined the Transitional Leadership Council that is directing the organization of the Global Methodist Church (in formation).
“I am deeply honored by my election to the Transitional Leadership Council of the nascent Global Methodist Church,” said Lowry. “It is a high privilege to join the fine women and men already working assiduously to establish a new branch of the Methodist movement that upholds the historic orthodox tradition of the Christian faith and is committed to the Great Commission of our Lord through a Holy Spirit infused ministry of making disciples who are committed, disciplined followers of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”
Lowry joins 16 other members on the TLC who are laying the groundwork for the launch of the Global Methodist Church.
“Bishop Lowry is a wonderful addition to the TLC,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, chairman of the council. “His rich experiences, his deep knowledge of the church catholic, and his sense of Wesleyan ‘practical divinity’ will enrich our already fruitful and globally diverse council. It is an honor to have him join us.”
As a bishop, Lowry served 13 and a half years in the Central Texas Annual Conference, providing spiritual and administrative leadership for over 300 local churches with nearly 155,000 members. During his time as an active bishop in the UM Church, he provided extensive leadership for Path One, a program for new church development and the renewal of existing congregations. He was a member of the Council of Bishops’ Executive Committee during the 2012 -2016 quadrennium. He also served on various boards, including the United Methodist Publishing House, Southwestern University, Texas Wesleyan University, and on the Executive Board of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. He is currently a member of United Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees.
“It was privilege and a joy to serve alongside Bishop Lowry,” said the Rev. Dr. Leah Hidde-Gregory, a member of the TLC and the Executive Director of the Smith Center for Evangelism, Mission and Church Growth in the Central Texas Annual Conference. “As a member of his cabinet I learned so much from him. He is deeply committed to the classical confessions of the Christian faith, a man of spiritual depth who models and teaches the great spiritual disciplines of the faith, and he is a creative leader who loves to empower others to become effective leaders for the mission of Christ’s church.”
Prior to his election and consecration as a bishop in July 2008, Lowry was serving as executive director of New Church Development and Transformation in the Southwest Texas Conference (now part of the Rio Texas Annual Conference) in San Antonio. He also served as senior pastor at University UM Church (San Antonio), a 5,800-member congregation that grew from 4,800 to 5,700 members during his tenure. His previous appointments include UM churches in Austin, Corpus Christi, Harlingen and Kerrville and, while a student, at Plymouth Park in Irving. Churches under his leadership have received a number of awards and recognitions including Habitat for Humanity, the President’s Award from Hutson-Tillotson College, the Churchmanship Award from San Antonio Community of Churches, and the Arthur Moore Evangelism Award three times. He has been awarded the B’nai B’rith Award in Social Ethics by Perkins School of Theology and the Harry Denman Evangelism Award by the Foundation for Evangelism.
Among his writings, Lowry was a regular blogger at his post, “This Focused Center.” His “Generous Living” sermon was published in Best Stewardship Sermons of 2005, and he was a regular contributor to The Abingdon Preaching Annual. In 2014, he contributed the chapter entitled “Order” in Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church. He has written for Firebrand Magazine (“A Fight for the Faith Once Delivered” and “Envisioning a New Spring for Methodism”) and Good News Magazine (“Back to Our Future” and “Where Are We Going”), and he authored, “Birth Pangs of the Next Methodism” a chapter in the recently published, The Next Methodism: Theological, Social, and Missional Foundations for Global Methodism.
A 1972 graduate of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, Bishop Lowry earned his Master of Theology from Perkins School of Theology and his Doctor of Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by United Theological Seminary in 2019. He and his wife Jolynn have a son Nathan and daughter-in-law Abigail and grandsons Simon and Adam; daughter Sarah and son-in-law Steven and grandchildren Grace and Sam. Bishop Lowry is currently serving as United Theological Seminary’s first bishop-in-residence in Dayton, Ohio.
“I believe God in Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is renewing the Lord’s church. I am excited about the possibilities present in birthing a new Methodist expression of the church universal,” said Lowry. “I come to the ministry of helping birth the Global Methodist Church out of a conviction that this is a work of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is leading us to a new time of faithful and fruitful witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as we share the gospel with a spiritually starving, battered and bruised world.”
The Rev. Walter Fenton serves as the secretary for the Transitional Leadership Council.