ORLANDO, Florida -- Dr. Jo Anne Lyon wrote a new chapter in the history of The Wesleyan Church on Monday, June 9, 2008, when she was elected by the denomination as its first-ever woman General Superintendent.
Dr. Lyon, the Founder and CEO of World Hope International (WHI), was elected on the second ballot at the 11th General Conference of the denomination. World Hope is the compassionate ministries partner of The Wesleyan Church and has been affiliated with the Church since WHI’s founding 12 years ago.
“What a wonderful statement you have made as The Wesleyan Church,” said outgoing General Superintendent Dr. Earle L. Wilson. “We have been trying to say to the Christian world that we believe in women in the ministry.”
Dr. Lyon said her father, who now is in heaven, trained her to serve the Church. “My father used to tell people, ‘I trained that girl to be a good churchman.’ He didn’t know about gender-specific language.”
In accepting her new assignment, Dr. Lyon challenged the church to go places it never has gone before. “I believe the Lord is positioning The Wesleyan Church to have a voice in the 21st century like never before,” she said.