June 21, 2022 – The Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright, superintendent of the Central (Indianapolis area) and West (Terre Haute area) Districts has been endorsed by the membership of the Indiana Annual Conference as a candidate for the episcopacy in The United Methodist Church as the jurisdictions across the United States are set to hold elections for bishops November 2-5, 2022.
During the Indiana Conference’s first in-person annual conference gathering since the beginning of the pandemic, held June 9-11 at Indiana Wesleyan University, the Rev. Russ Abel, chairperson of the Indiana General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation and superintendent of the East and Northeast Districts, offered an update on the work of the delegation throughout the last two years.
“Our delegation is filled with faithful, wonderful people who seek Jesus with all their heart. As a delegation we love one another, we disagree with one another, we continue to love one another, and unite in our support of the Church,” he said.
“So friends, I ask that you join the Indiana delegation by offering the endorsement of the annual conference for the Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright for the office of bishop.”
Fulbright graciously accepted the endorsement and addressed the conference.
“I am humbled and continue to celebrate the ways you support me,” she said. “Please pray for me and thank you Indiana, I appreciate you.”
Fulbright affirmed the conference’s welcome to her more than nine years ago as she transferred her membership from the North Texas Conference to launch Indiana’s inaugural leadership development ministry to discover, develop, and deploy fruitful lay and clergy leaders.
Bishop Julius Trimble, resident bishop of the Indiana Conference, invited members to affirm their support with voting cards before inviting Bishop Gregory Palmer, associate presiding bishop visiting from the West Ohio Conference, to pray for Fulbright and the jurisdictional episcopal process. Palmer asked the conference to extend their hands forward as he offered a prayer and commission to all those who will come forward in the episcopal candidacy process.
Fulbright, a second career ministry professional, heard her call to vocational ministry while serving as an assistant controller for the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. From her sending congregation of Jubilee United Methodist Church she went on to become an ordained elder in the North Texas Conference.
Throughout her 17-year career, she has served the local church as an associate pastor and as a campus minister. As the inaugural associate director of the North Texas Conference’s Center for Leadership Development, she focused on developing skilled and principled leaders in the church. In 2014, under the leadership of the late Bishop Michael Coyner and then Conference Lay Leader Doris Clark, the Indiana Conference developed a national search to guide INUMC’s first Office of Leadership Development and recruited Fulbright to move to Indianapolis.
Under her leadership, the conference made significant strides in advancing processes, resources, partnerships, and a comprehensive leadership development system to identify laity and clergy ready to enter into next level leadership opportunities. While serving as the director of leadership development her work also included the supervision and partnership of the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of Laity, licensing school, district committees on ministry, and formation and discipleship of emerging and generational leaders as well as implementing a clergy evaluation process to better engage clergy, local church staff-parish relations committees, and the Cabinet.
In 2018, Fulbright was named as the superintendent of the East District, a largely rural area, and in 2019 was appointed to serve as the superintendent of the Central District, the conference’s largest and most diverse missional hub which encompasses the Greater Indianapolis Metropolitan area. In 2020, she was appointed to serve, dually, the West District (primarily smaller membership congregations) in addition to the Central District, offering her leadership oversight to more than 200 congregations and 165 clergypersons.
She is a skilled leader, teacher, preacher, and consultant with projects that extend across the Connection in the areas of leadership development, coaching, discipleship, mission, and ministry alignment.
Fulbright says her greatest joy is her adult son, Myron Fisher Jr., a middle school educator and basketball coach who is gearing up for his first high school administrator role in fall 2022 in Kansas.
by Skyler E. Nimmons
Skyler E. Nimmons, is a lifelong United Methodist, a member of the South Carolina Conference, and former communicator for the Western North Carolina Conference (2011-2013) and the Indiana Conference (2014-2018). He is a strategic and creative consultant for businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations as well as the senior director of marketing and digital engagement for the United Way of Central Indiana.