November 7, 2022
Sisters and Brothers,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
By now, most of you have heard that Bishop Laura Merrill has been assigned as Resident Bishop of the Arkansas Area beginning January 1, 2023. What you may not have heard is that she was part of a historic election in the South Central Jurisdiction as one of three bishops elected on the first ballot.
I am excited for her as I am excited for you. I believe she is an excellent match for Arkansas and will be an outstanding leader. She is genuinely looking forward to coming to Arkansas, and I know you will enjoy getting to know her and experiencing her leadership in the coming years. Bishop Merrill has most recently been District Superintendent in Austin in the Rio Texas Conference, and previously was the Assistant to the Bishop, a pastor, and a missionary. She has two grown children, Caroline and Joe. She is engaging, an excellent listener, thoughtful, compassionate, and fair.
Bishop Merrill will be leaving her home in Texas and moving to Arkansas in the coming weeks. Having gone through that myself, I know how challenging it is. I know you will do the fantastic job Arkansas United Methodists do in welcoming, helping, and supporting her during this time of transition. I also have the fullest confidence you will keep her in your prayers as she steps into this new role with new responsibilities during this very difficult time in the life of our church.
I believe that the Arkansas Conference has a unique and exciting opportunity to make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples, equipped and sent to transform lives, communities and the world. Bishop Merrill will provide excellent leadership in doing this.
God bless you!
Grace and peace,
Gary E. Mueller