Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, left, and Dr. Nina G. Gunter, right, the first women to be elected general superintendent in The Wesleyan Church and Church of the Nazarene, respectively. Dr. Gunter retired in 2009.
Lyon elected sole general superintendent for The Wesleyan Church
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Lexington, Kentucky
Jo Anne Lyon was elected the sole general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church at the denomination's 2012 quadrennial General Conference on Monday.

The Wesleyan Church is a sister holiness denomination of the Church of the Nazarene. Both are members of the Global Wesleyan Alliance

"On behalf of the Board of General Superintendents, I send our heartiest congratulations on your recent election as the sole general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church," Eugenio R. Duarte, chair of the Church of the Nazarene's Board of General Superintendents, wrote in a letter to Lyon. "Your record of service, leadership, and compassion merits this honor. Christian influence and selfless ministry that reflect the Christ we serve have given rise to the widespread respect you have won in the hearts of so many. We pledge our prayerful support as with the Lord’s help you fulfill the functions and responsibilities of this position. May God give you the desires of your heart as you serve in His name."

Nazarene General Superintendent J. K. Warrick attended the General Conference, bringing greetings on behalf of the Church of the Nazarene. 

"We deeply appreciate the relationship we have with the Wesleyans and other members of the Global Wesleyan Alliance," Warrick said.

An ordained Wesleyan minister, Lyon is the founder of World Hope International, the official relief and development partner of The Wesleyan Church. She serves on several national and international boards, including Hephzibah Ministries, National Association of Evangelicals, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and Bread for the World.

Elected in 2008 as the first woman general superintendent in the history of The Wesleyan Church and its precedent bodies, Lyon has spoken to some of the largest gatherings in the evangelical movement. She has been a proponent of the relevance of the holiness movement in the 21st century, especially as it relates to holy character and social justice. Lyon was ordained in The Wesleyan Church in 1996.

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, she has been given numerous honorary doctorate degrees and has served as adjunct professor at Indiana Wesleyan University and Asbury Theological Seminary.

She has contributed to several publications and written a book entitled The Ultimate Blessing. Lyon has served on numerous boards of higher education and was World Hope Board chair from 2008-2011.

Her passion for reaching out to the last and the least takes her around the world. She is instrumental in mobilizing many from within and without The Wesleyan Church to help provide opportunity, dignity, and hope for the poor and those who need someone to speak for them. Through the strategic partnership with World Hope International, Lyon has helped the denomination find practical ways to respond in the name of Jesus to issues of human trafficking, poverty, disaster relief, and HIV/AIDS. 

The delegates of General Conference 2012 had previously approved restructuring the Board of General Superintendents as it relates to the ministries and services of the church. In addition to the change from three general superintendents to one, the departments of The Wesleyan Church's International Center are integrated into four areas: Communication and Administration, Global Partners, Education and Clergy Development, and Church Multiplication and Discipleship. An elected executive director leads each division.

The divisions will administer the ministry services of The Wesleyan Church World Headquarters under the supervision of the general superintendent.

General Superintendent Lyon is married to Wesleyan minister, church planter, and innovator of international ministries, Wayne Lyon. They are parents of four children and grandparents of six and reside in Fishers, Indiana.
--The Wesleyan Church

Note: To read the letter of greeting given to The Wesleyan Church by the Church of the Nazarene, click here
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