The South Coastal District conference, in its 18th annual session on Friday, July 20, 2018, at the 12Stone Sugarloaf John Maxwell Center in Duluth, Georgia, approved a new district leadership model.

The District Board of Administration elected Rev. Stephen Lane, senior pastor of New Beginnings Community Church, Richmond Hill, Georgia, to serve as interim district superintendent for one year.

The DBA also elected Jason Berry, associate executive pastor of 12Stone Church, Lawrenceville, Georgia, to fill a new leadership position created to guide district re-envisioning efforts. Berry is charged with exploring partnership and merger possibilities with colleagues in the Florida, North Carolina East, North Carolina West, Shenandoah and South Carolina districts, in order to provide input on determining the most effective long-term ministry strategy for South Coastal.

Lane was encouraged by the DBA to appoint, upon their approval, additional members of a district leadership team. The newly-appointed members are: Santiago Bernate, Ron Addison, David Bane and Andy Cole.

Santiago Bernate, lay member of 12Stone Church, is charged with overseeing the district’s Hispanic ministries. Addison, senior pastor of West Town Community Church, Evans, Georgia, will give oversight to Georgia churches. Bane, senior pastor of Magnolia Springs Wesleyan Church, Magnolia Springs, Alabama, will provide oversight to churches in Alabama and Mississippi. Cole, senior pastor of Brookville Wesleyan Church, Birmingham, Alabama, and district director of church multiplication and discipleship, will provide oversight to church plants and restarts. All ministry members of the leadership team will continue to serve their churches.

“Our team is committed to encouraging each church back to the basics of evangelism, discipleship, prayer and faith,” said Lane. “Our priority is seeing the unresolved become followers of Jesus Christ, to see new believers growing in the faith leading to a transforming presence within the local church resulting in the planting of new churches across our borders.”

Dr. Dan Berry, who has served as South Coastal District superintendent since 2004, retired at the rise of the conference. Berry had also served as superintendent of the Eastern New York-New England District from 1993 to 2001.

“Dan has led South Coastal District in embracing our strategic focus of celebrating every time a disciple makes a disciple and a church multiplies itself until The Wesleyan Church has a transforming presence in every ZIP code,” Lane said. “He will be missed.

“We have some hard ministry work ahead of us,” said Lane. “We are excited to step into this next season for the South Coastal District and are expectant as we continue to be a part of the great things God is doing in our midst.”

The South Coastal District includes the states of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.