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Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson Named Associate General Secretary at Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church

December 5, 2016
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson

EVANSTON, Illinois – Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church announces the appointment of The Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson as associate general secretary effective February 1, 2017. Wilson has served as assistant vice president of student life and dean of students at Garrett-Evangelical since 2012 and will retain her responsibilities till January 31, 2017.

“I am so honored to have been appointed as associate general secretary, Discipleship Ministries by the General Secretary, Rev. Junius Dotson,” said Wilson. “It is no secret that Discipleship Ministries provides innovative and contextual resources for United Methodist Church leaders. My passion for intentional outreach to the de-churched, un-churched, nones, marginalized, and millennials across the globe has continued to intensify during my eight years at Garrett-Evangelical. This new place of ministry speaks to that passion. Over the last three decades I have had many occasions to collaborate on numerous projects with Discipleship Ministries and I look forward to continuing that relationship in a more official capacity.”

When asked about Wilson’s new appointment, Dr. Lallene J. Rector, president of Garrett-Evangelical, said: “We are thrilled with the denomination’s recognition of Dr. Wilson’s many gifts, her wide-ranging relational network within the church, and the experience in leadership she brings to Discipleship Ministries. The seminary will miss Dr. Wilson and all that she has brought to our community during her tenure with us. Dr. Wilson has been a critically important leader within our community and we wish her God’s speed in this new ministry.”

A popular lecturer, preacher, teacher, conductor, and concert artist, Wilson founded and launched the Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience at Garrett-Evangelical in 2016. She served as co-director for the 1996 General Conference of The United Methodist Church and was selected as the first female and first person of color to serve as director of music for The United Methodist Church’s 2000 General Conference. Wilson was also a member of the national task force that produced the Songs of Zion, and in 2005 she co-chaired with Dr. William McClain, professor emeritus of Wesley Theological Seminary, the task force that produced its sequel, Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation.

Reflecting upon her time at Garrett-Evangelical Wilson said: “As a proud alum of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, I have deeply appreciated the genuine care and concern demonstrated by administration, staff, and faculty. I am grateful for wisdom and guidance from brilliant academicians like the world-renown Dr. Ruth Duck, my PhD advisor, colleague and friend.

“This amazing journey has afforded me the opportunity to play a vital role in encouraging and preparing our twenty-first century religious leaders. While my responsibilities as dean of students have been challenging in so many ways, our gifted and anointed students have been my true joy! Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the twenty-first century church will be in excellent hands. My prayer is that God will continue to sustain and strengthen the vital work of Garrett-Evangelical.”

Wilson is an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church, holds a doctor of philosophy in liturgical studies from Garrett-Evangelical, as well as a bachelor of arts in music education from Dillard University and a master of sacred music degree from Perkins School of Theology.

Appropriate gatherings to mark this transition are being scheduled and invitations will be announced soon. To learn more about Wilson and her new appointment, go here.

The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information, visit