SCJ Delegates

Lay and Clergy delegates have been carefully and prayerfully chosen to represent the Texas Annual Conference at the 2016 General Conference in Oregon this May, but what are their passions and thoughts, and motivations?

Learn the “backstory” of several delegates in this series. Below, you’ll find Q and A’s either by video or text and gain a better knowledge of the people representing you at General Conference 2016.  Delegates will work with others to revise church law as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social and economic issues, along with the approval of budgets and plans for denomination-wide programs.

Reggie Clemons is a lay member of our delegation. Reggie is the Church Administrator and Worship Leader at First United Methodist Church in Pearland, Texas. He and his wife Caroline have 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters.
See an intervew with Mr. Clemons:


Meet Dr. Janice Gilbert, pastor of St. James UMC in Beaumont in the South East District.



See this video interview with Rev. Ben Trammell, pastor of Faith UMC in Richmond in the Southwest District:

Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner, Executive Vice Dean on the faculty of Duke University Divinity School. Laceye lives in Abbott, Texas with her husband Rev. Gaston Warner and one daughter.

Why did you want to participate in General Conference?
One of my goals in teaching UM Studies, including UM Polity, over the last fifteen years is to inspire new pastors to trust and participate in the denomination beyond the local church—and to inspire others, especially laity, to do the same. After serving on general church groups, such as the Council of Bishops’ Ministry Study and the University Senate, as well as teaching so many others to participate, I felt called to offer myself as a possible delegate willing to participate in these important efforts.

Why do you think General Conference is important? 
General Conference is the authoritative body and voice of the United Methodist Church. Its delegates represent United Methodists worldwide. By the Constitution of the UMC, the General Conference is given the authority to discern, lead, and speak for the denomination every four years. 

Do you have a prayer request concerning General Conference? 
My prayer request for the General Conference is for its participants to know the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom to embody a faithful Christian witness of unity, courage, and the love of God in Christ.

What are some of the most exciting ministries that the UMC is doing globally or locally?
One of the most exciting efforts related to General Conference is the discernment and composition of a Book of Discipline for the world-wide United Methodist Church. United Methodism is vital and growing rapidly in Africa, Asia and many other regions across the world. Creating a world-wide Discipline is a monumental task. It requires deep wisdom, close listening, and care for details not just related to the content of the published work, but the facilitation of spiritual formation and Christian vocations of United Methodists around the world.


Marquice Hobbs 23, a member of Jones Memorial UMC in Houston attends Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.
Why did you want to participate in General Conference?
A few reasons why I wanted to participate in General Conference are: to represent the youth and young adults of The United Methodist church especially within the jurisdiction of the Texas Annual Conference, to understand better the political and bureaucratic side of the United Methodist Church, to aid in moving the church forward and setting the standard of our legislation and governing principles upon Biblical doctrines, and to just have fun and meet new people. I understand with this role comes a lot of responsibility and esteem. Thus, I do not take it lightly, for I want to represent my conference, especially the young adults and youth, as best as I can. This is my first time attending General Conference, and from the advice of my mentors, I’m ready for a long ride.
Why do you think General Conference is important?
I believe General Conference is important because it is a time where those of us under the United Methodist denomination can meet and fellowship with others. We are all unique in our culture, our stations in life, our spirituality, our political views, favorite genre of music and books, employment, and even in our hobbies. We are a large community of brothers and sisters, so just to be able to appreciate the differences amongst us in the spirit of community, holy conferencing, and fellowship is highly important. In addition, General Conference is the stage where a lot of big tickets items are dealt with such as how will we respond to global crisis, the concepts of human sexuality, the candidacy process and the most effective method for producing quality pastors through various means, and how best to indoctrinate the Holy Scriptures of God.  General Conference is the place to direct the vision and agenda of the United Methodist Church, but it is also a time to meet and greet our many brothers and sisters whom represent their respective conferences from across the World.
What is your greatest hope for General Conference?
My greatest hope for General Conference is to be led by the Spirit of God, for if we are led by any other spirit we would fail. Moreover, I hope that all legislative committees can be heard and present their legislation before the body because it is highly important to deliberate and focus on all aspects and offices/ministries of the United Methodist Church throughout its hierarchical stages. I also hope that we can handle the topic of human sexuality and its place within the church and church leadership, along with other hot topic debates, with much integrity, diligence, and care. Lastly, I hope that somebody might be saved amongst our midst and that we might imprint upon the city of Portland the true faith of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and most importantly, our witness to Jesus Christ.
What is your greatest hope for the UMC?
My greatest hope of the United Methodist Church is that we might continue to shine bright the light of Christ into this dark world. The UMC should be hope for the hopeless, freedom for the oppressed, relief for the distressed, comfort for the afflicted, love for those engrossed with pain, and a mural of Jesus Christ, for the UMC stretches its arms through the world and is able, under its auspices, to touch any region therein. To many times the people of a community are separated by the walls of a church, so I hope that the UMC might break down its walls and have church in the streets, festivals with the homeless, revivals in the prisons, and choir rehearsal within the schools in order to transform the lives of people in the name of Jesus of Christ.
What are some of the most exciting ministries that the UMC is doing globally or locally?
One of the exciting things the United Methodist Church is doing globally, ministry wise, is UMCOR whose work reaches at least eighty countries. Through this ministry of the UMC, so many prayers are answered, so many people’s needs are met, and so many lives restored. They help people receive health provisions and are active participants in the sanitation of water for countries where the need is dire, amongst many other things they do. I have so much respect for this ministry, its accomplishments, and its many members. Locally, however, I feel it only best to speak to what I know which is the Texas Annual Conference. Within my personal conference, I love the summer College Pastoral Internship Program. This has been in effect for over five years now, and it gives young adults a glimpse of what being a pastor is all about. Interns are able to serve in a local church through the areas of teaching, preaching, administration, and so on and so forth. Young adults are required to live with a member of the church in order to be fully immersed within the life of that church. I remember the two years that I got to do it, and let me tell you, both years shaped my life. During my first year, I was able to stay with the Associate Pastor of The Foundry UMC in Cypress, Texas, Ray Hughes. It was a new church start for their second location where he was the pastor, and I got to experience the life of a pastor through all dimensions of social and personal interactions. He is a great man, his family is wonderful, and oh my goodness their church is a staple of Christian Discipleship, and I think nothing is more evident than their construction of Cy-Hope. My second year was just as amazing under the leadership of Robert Besser and his team at Wesley UMC in Beaumont, Texas. We did door to door ministry, and had a blast in the office. His leadership style was one I took to heart, and from both pastors, their pastoral team, church, and ministries I definitely was mentored, supported, and loved on. In addition, through the culmination of both experiences it made me even more excited for my first day in office at a local church.
How is being a delegate in General Conference part of your calling?
Being a delegate is a part of my calling because God has called me to be a leader. I am a very humble person, but when you are confident in the work of God you are able to speak boldly. General Conference is the Mecca of church leaders who decide the future of the UMC and who network in order to create and renovate potential partnerships between persons, ministries, conferences and businesses. I believe God wants me to be an active participant on this stage of the UMC, and my hope and will is that I can do the ground work to be as effective as God so desires.

Longtime lay leader Sue Sullivan is a lay delegate from Texarkana in the North District:
Why did you want to participate in General Conference? 
I have served in the local church, district and annual conferences and General Conference committees, boards and agencies.  I have served as a Jurisdictional Delegate 2004, 2008 and 2012 and General Conference Delegate in 2012.  I feel I have the experience to bring the views of the laity of the UMC.  As a Certified Lay Minister, I also understand clergy perspective on many issues.  I want to participate in General Conference to engage in planning for the future of our denomination.
Why do you think General Conference is important?
 As a connectional church body, General Conference provides a time for us to come together to evaluate where we have been, where we are now, and where we hope to be in the near future.
What is your greatest hope for General conference? 
I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us and unite us in our Biblical understanding of what it means to be United Methodists.  My hope is that we will address the declining membership and worship attendance and seek strategies for spiritual and membership growth.
What is your greatest hope for the UMC? 
The theme for 2016 General Conference is Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." This scripture is my hope for the UMC.
How is being a delegate in General Conference part of your calling? 
My prayers include offering myself in service to God.  I trust that He provides opportunities for me to be obedient to His calling.  Being a delegate to General Conference is an honor and privilege, and it requires prayer, study, teamwork, and faithfulness to the Scriptures.

See the full list of delegates representing the Texas Annual Conference 

Learn more about General Conference

Other Delegates across the South Central Jurisdiction