Sharon E. Watkins, a longtime leader of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has received the nod as the 770,000-member church’s next president, which will make her the first female top executive of a mainline denomination.
Her nomination is expected to be approved by the Disciples’ General Assembly July 23-27 in Portland, Oregon, said a church spokesperson. She was unanimously approved as the nominee April 17 by the board of directors of the Indianapolis-based church.
“I believe the church is blessed to have a leader like Sharon Watkins emerge,” said Chris Hobgood, the denomination’s outgoing general minister and president. “She is a very gifted leader and person of deep faith.”
Watkins, 50, is currently senior minister of the Disciples Christian Church of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. She and her husband, Richard (Rick) H. Lowery, an Old Testament professor at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, have two adult children.