The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai is chosen new chief officer of The Connectional Table.
December 5, 2017 LANSING, Michigan — A Michigan pastor of The United Methodist Church has been appointed to a key leadership post in the 12 million-member global denomination. The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai was named this morning as the new Chief Connectional Ministries Officer of the United Methodist Connectional Table, effective January 22, 2018.
Bigham-Tsai has served the past five years as the Lansing District Superintendent of The Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The Connectional Table discerns and articulates the vision for The United Methodist Church, stewarding the mission, ministries, and resources as determined by General Conference and in consultation with the Council of Bishops.
Bishop Christian Alsted, Chair of the Connectional Table, says, “I am very pleased to welcome Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai as our new Chief Connectional Ministries Officer. Rev. Bigham-Tsai is a seasoned leader in the denomination with extensive experience and first-hand knowledge of the multi-faceted work of the Connectional Table, and with her sharp analyzing mind, visionary thinking and strong communication skills, she will be able to provide excellent leadership to the Connectional Table. I look forward to working with her at this important time in the life of the worldwide United Methodist Church.”
Michigan United Methodist episcopal leader, Bishop David Alan Bard, shared his joy in the announcement. “The Connectional Table has made a wonderful decision in offering the position of Chief Connectional Ministries Officer to the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai.” He added, “Her deep faith, her probing intellect, her inquisitive spirit, and her vast knowledge about and experience with the denominational structures of The United Methodist Church, along with the tremendous gifts she has for focusing on what is most important, and for working with people, make her an excellent choice. Precisely because she possesses such gifts and skills, she will be greatly missed in The Michigan Area.”
The Rev. Bigham-Tsai brings to the Connectional Table a wealth of experience at every level of the church. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Harvard University and a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Before ordination, she served as director of the District Peace with Justice Community of Grand Rapids, Michigan. From 2006-2013 she served pastorates at Milwood United Methodist Church, Kalamazoo, MI and University United Methodist Church in East Lansing, MI. Bigham-Tsai has served as a member of the Connectional Table since 2012 where she has been deeply immersed in the work of the church. She has also served in a wide range of local, state, national and international United Methodist leadership roles.
“I am honored to be invited to serve as the Chief of Connectional Ministries,” Bigham-Tsai said. “I am grateful for the work of my predecessor, Rev. Dr. Amy Valdez Barker, and look forward to working with Bishop Alsted, our excellent staff and the superb leadership of the CT and our ministry partners throughout the connection to continue to cast vision, align to the mission and build trust. I welcome the opportunity to be a part of what the Spirit is doing in The United Methodist Church.”
Rev. Ken Nelson, Chair of the search committee stated, “With her experience on the Connectional Table and familiarity with the staff, we are confident that Rev. Bigham-Tsai will help advance the work of the Connectional Table at this crucial moment in the life of the Church. She is a strategic thinker who demonstrates an ability to build bridges and facilitate collaboration and group processes that invite persons to engage one another. I believe she will help us continue to discern our identity as United Methodists in a global context.”
Rev. Bigham-Tsai succeeds Rev. Dr. Amy Valdez Barker who accepted the position as the Executive Director for the Global Missions Connections at the General Board of Global Ministries in June of 2017 after serving the Connectional Table for six years.
The United Methodist Church is the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the United States and the third largest Christian denomination in the country. In 2015, Pew Research estimated that 3.6% of the US population or 9 million adults self-identify as United Methodists.