By Walter Fenton
July 9, 2021
The Wesleyan Covenant Association is pleased to announce that the Rev. Angela Pleasants has joined its leadership team. She will serve as its Vice President for Clergy and Church Relations, assisting clergy and local churches that seek to align with the Global Methodist Church.
“I have rarely met a more peaceful and peace-sharing spirit than Angela,” said the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Moore, Chairwoman of the WCA’s Global Council. “She carries a quiet wisdom, faith, and enthusiasm for all we are about. I can’t wait to work together with her for the renewal of the church.”
A graduate of Duke Divinity School and, until recently, an elder in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, Pleasants has served local United Methodist congregations across the Tar Heel state. She was elected to serve as a General Conference delegate in 2008, 2012, and 2016.
“We are excited to have Angela join our staff,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, the WCA’s President. “She brings a wealth of experience and considerable gifts to a position that will be instrumental in helping local churches and clergy navigate their way to the Global Methodist Church. We are very fortunate to have Angela as a key part of the new thing God is doing in Methodism.”
The anticipated passage of the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation at the 2022 General Conference is raising many questions for traditionalist United Methodist Church laity and clergy. The WCA and the Traditional Leadership Council, the body that earlier this year announced plans for the formation of the Global Methodist Church, are eager to help them understand the Protocol and assist them during a transitional period likely to last 12 to 15 months.
“A variety of situations will confront congregations and clergy once the Protocol is passed,” said Boyette, one of the 16 mediation members who hammered out the agreement with UM Church centrists, progressives, and leading bishops. “We’ll have pastors who want to retire, congregations looking for pastors, and clergy and laity wanting to plant new churches. We realized we needed a person who could give full attention to these matters and many more. Angela’s background, skills and winsome spirit will help us meet these challenges.”
From 2016 to 2020 Pleasants served as District Superintendent and Chief Missional Strategist in the Western North Carolina Conference’s Catawba District. She also served as the chairwoman of the conference’s board of elders and as a member of its board of ordained ministry.
“The fire and passion for connecting genuine relationships with God to the administrative and structural needs for building and maintaining the Global Methodist Church are what excite me about the opportunity to serve in this position,” said Pleasants. “And I also get to serve with a great team of lay people and pastors all across the Wesleyan Covenant Association.”
Pleasants, a lifelong Methodist, started teaching the senior Sunday school class at her local church as a 16-year-old, and in college she became a certified lay speaker. Noting that her father’s family was Methodist, and her mother’s family was Baptist, she explained some members in her extended family did not think women should be ordained clergy.
“I struggled to discern the inward call to ministry,” she said. “But on October 28, 1990, not only did I surrender my entire heart and soul to Jesus Christ, but I also said yes to the call of ordained ministry.”
In addition to serving at all levels of the UM Church, Pleasants has served as a police chaplain for three communities in North Carolina and for the United States Secret Service. She is a full member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains.
“Working alongside law enforcement I’ve met men and women who care deeply for the communities they serve,” said Pleasants. “I’ve also noticed how often their work can be a thankless vocation. I’ve been inspired by their dedication, and it’s been a privilege to come alongside them and provide a non-anxious presence and a listening ear.”
Asked what excites about her new position, Pleasants responded, “Working with the WCA in general, and chairing its race and ethnic equality task force team have created opportunities where I can say for the first time, I feel like I’m part of a global church. I have a weekly dialogue with individuals from various countries where I learn about their cultures and how faith is practiced in their communities. My hope for the Global Methodist Church is that we continue to strengthen our relationships with our brothers and sisters worldwide.”
Pleasants assumed her position with the WCA on July 1, 2021. She will work out of her home office in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Rev. Walter Fenton is Vice President for Strategic Engagement for the Wesleyan Covenant Association and is an elder in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.