Bishop Judith Craig, the third woman elected as a United Methodist bishop, brought a robust sense of humor and eloquent, inspiring preaching style to her pioneering role. She died Jan. 18 at 82 in Columbus, Ohio.

Craig was elected as bishop in 1984.

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, who leads the West Ohio Area, said Craig had the perfect combination of skill and humor.

“Bishop Craig was a faithful and gifted servant of Jesus Christ and the church. She was a visionary and courageous and a superb leadership mentor. She was always cognizant of and grateful for the moorings that are essential to be the church. At the same time, she was keen on envisioning new futures. Many can envision what might be. Not all know how to lead strategically to get there,” he said.

Craig was the first woman bishop to be assigned to the West Michigan and Detroit Conferences, serving from 1984 to 1992. Iowa Area Bishop Laurie Haller was then a young pastor serving in her first appointment in the conference.

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