By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Rev. William McAlilly, former senior minister at First United Methodist Church in Tupelo, was elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church on Wednesday.
McAlilly was among four ministers elected bishop at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in Lake Junaluska, N.C. He was elected on the fifth ballot.
Assignments for the newly elected have not been released, but they take effect Sept. 1.
McAlilly, who came to Tupelo in 2000 and left in 2006 to become superintendent of the Seashore District on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is the second minister associated with Tupelo First United Methodist to be elected a bishop. The first was McAlilly’s predecessor, the Rev. Larry Goodpaster.
McAlilly was not immediately available for comment.
“He’s served in every aspect of ministry,” said Paul Mize, who worked closely with McAlilly during his tenure in Tupelo. “Our church doesn’t shrink away from challenges, it deals with them, and he is a perfect embodiment of that.”
McAlilly has ministered in rural areas such as the Delta as well as urban areas, such as Memphis, to both small and large churches.
In Madison, the membership in his congregation doubled to 1,200. As pastor of FUMC Tupelo, he expanded the church’s outreach to affect more than 5,000 people annually, and oversaw a capital campaign and building program that added 36,000 square feet of church space.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, McAlilly was a key leader in rebuilding many churches and homes on the Gulf Coast, as well as supporting the displaced in the Seashore District through an organization called A Community of Transformation and Service.
The pastor is a native Mississippian, the son of a Methodist pastor as well as the father of one. He is an alumnus of Millsaps College and received his Master of Divinity from Emory University.
The Southeastern Jurisdiction includes Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.