The Reverend Dr. Debra Wallace-Padgett was elected a Bishop of the United Methodist Church at the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.
At the time of her election, she served as Lead Pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky – an appointment she served for eight years. During her tenure, St. Luke grew in membership, strengthened its infrastructure, built a $4.5 million Ministry Life Center, and launched a multi-cultural worship service.
Her previous service to the church includes six years as District Superintendent of the Prestonsburg District, with two years as Dean of the Cabinet of the Kentucky Conference, three years as pastor of Paris First UMC, and eleven years on staff at Lexington First UMC. Additionally, she has served in a variety of roles in the Kentucky Annual Conference as well as Jurisdictional and General Conference levels. These include Board of Ministries; District Committee On Ministries/Local Pastors team chair; Methodist Home Board chair; Kentucky Conference Education chair; Kentucky Episcopacy Committee chair; Primary Task Team; Children and Poverty Board; SEJ Episcopacy Committee member; General Commission on the Status and Role of Women Board, (2004-20012); World Methodist Council; General Conference and SEJ delegate (2000, 2004, 2008). Wallace-Padgett was the first clergy elected from the Kentucky Conference in 2008 and in 2012.
Wallace-Padgett is a graduate of Berea College (B.A. in Physical Education), Scarritt College and Graduate School (M.A. in Christian Education), Lexington Theological Seminary (M. Div.) and Asbury Theological Seminary (D. Min).
She is married to Rev. Lee Padgett, a deacon in the United Methodist Church who serves as Executive Director of Sumatanga Camp and Conference Center. They have two children, Leanndra and Andrew. Wallace-Padgett is the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Frank Wallace. Reverend Wallace is a United Methodist elder.