Sutton appointed to lead Crossroads District
by Paul Thomas, director of communications
Rev. Dr. Tara Sutton
Michigan Area Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton has announced that the Rev. Dr. Tara Sutton has been appointed to serve as the superintendent for the Crossroads District, effective July 1, 2012. Sutton, the senior pastor at Flint: Bethel UMC, is replacing the Rev. Dr. Andrew Allie, who has been the Crossroads District superintendent in a temporary capacity since April 1.
"The Rev. Dr. Tara R. Sutton has accepted the call to the Crossroads District," Keaton said. "A 10-year career in the United States Air Force, work in the business world, 27 years of pastoral ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal and United Methodist Churches, and her call to the ministry of Jesus Christ have equipped her for the ministry of superintending."
Sutton has served as the senior pastor at Flint: Bethel UMC since 2005. Prior to her appointment at Flint: Bethel, Sutton served four years as an associate pastor at Waterford: Central UMC from 2001-2005, and spent three years as the pastor at Flint: Oak Park UMC from 1998-2001. Her first appointment was in 1991, where she served Holy Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dolton, Ill., before transferring her orders to the United Methodist Church in 1998.
"The name of the sermon the day I was called was 'God, Wow Us,' and I was amazed that I had received a call to serve as a member of the cabinet," Sutton said. "I think it is an opportunity to offer my gifts and graces to the Detroit Conference to help take the Crossroads District to another level. I plan on serving with prayer, dedication, faithfulness, and the love of Jesus Christ."
Sutton also referenced Psalm 16:8a - "I have set the Lord always before me…" as a grounding scripture as she begins the ministry of the superintendency.
A member of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, Sutton was a delegate to the 2008 General Conference session and was also elected in 2004 to serve on the delegation to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. In 2011, she was elected to serve as an alternate to the 2012 North Central Jurisdictional Conference. Sutton has also been a part of the Conference Leadership Team since 2011 and is a member of the Crossroads District Committee on Ordained Ministry. Sutton also served as the chairperson of the conference Board of Church and Society from 1998-2006.
Sutton received her Bachelor's degree in political science from Northwestern University in 1986 and her Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1989. In 2005, Sutton was awarded her doctorate from Ecumenical Theological Seminary, emphasizing on spiritual formation.
With Sutton's appointment, two pastors currently serving in the Crossroads District have been tabbed to be superintendents this year. In January, Keaton named the Rev. Elbert Dulworth, pastor at Laingsburg UMC, to lead the Marquette District.
Sutton's addition also means that the makeup of the appointive cabinet, beginning July 1, 2012, is likely to remain unchanged until July 2015. District superintendents are normally appointed to six-year terms, and the Rev. Joanne Bartelt, superintendent of the Blue Water District, will have the most experience on the cabinet as of July, beginning her fourth year of service. All of the other superintendents have been appointed to their posts since no later than 2010.
The Crossroads District is one of six districts in the Detroit Conference and includes 71 churches. The district is headquartered in Flint, Mich.