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GBHEM Announces Staff Appointments

January 19, 2017

Charles Ray Bailey (retired) has been promoted from associate general secretary of administration and operations to deputy general secretary. In this role, Bailey will serve as principle advisor and assistant to the general secretary in the execution of GBHEM’s service to The United Methodist Church (UMC). He will direct the daily operations of the Office of the General Secretary. Bailey will chair the workgroup that oversees the implementation of the general secretary’s strategic plan.  

Bailey is responsible for the execution of the agency’s programmatic strategic initiatives, coaching and training, as well as internal and external organizational responsibilities related to the General Board of Finance and Administration (GCFA) and the Connectional Table. Bailey will liaison with other executive leaders in the UMC, other faith groups and businesses. Bailey will represent the general secretary on decisions and policy in her absence. 

Karen Ward, previously director of finance and treasurer, will serve as associate general secretary of finance and administration. In this new role, Ward, in conjunction with the executive cabinet, will support strategic initiatives for GBHEM programs and services, including identification of opportunities to leverage cross-program strengths that help create efficiencies and address organizational challenges.  

Ward will also oversee administration and oversight of all financial and administrative functions for GBHEM, including Finance, Information Technology, and Loans & Scholarships. She will serve as the Office of Administration’s liaison and resource to the executive staff, executive committee, GCFA, and safety and crisis management teams. Ward will also serve as staff liaison for oversight of property management and building services functions (a shared resource with Discipleship Ministries), and she will provide leadership support to GBHEM’s work with General Conference.  

Crystal Banks has been promoted from program administrator for the Black College Fund to director of development of the Black College Fund. In this role, Banks will continue to partner with the assistant general secretary for the Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns Committee to advance the promotion, interpretation and fundraising efforts of the Black College Fund and the 11 historically Black schools, colleges, and universities (HBCU) in the U.S. that are related to The United Methodist Church. Banks will coordinate activities of the Ethnic Concerns Committee and Ethnic In-service Training Grant applications and financials, as well as create additional funding sources for increased sustainability and advancement in Black College Fund HBCUs.  

Marcie Bigord, previously manager, will serve as assistant director for the Office of Loans and Scholarships. In this role, Bigord will administer and oversee the processing of all loan and scholarship applications, including the review and risk assessment of each application. She will coordinate review processes with committees and implement workflows. Bigord will coordinate and implement communications and fund development objectives for the office and will support the executive director in achieving agency and department strategic goals. Bigord will work directly with a wide range of constituencies in the UMC. She will also act as lead in the executive director’s absence. 

GBHEM congratulates these employees on their promotions and for a job well done. We wish each continued success in the role they play in helping GBHEM achieve its mission and vision. 

To learn more about GBHEM, visit  

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to lead and connect the educational and ministerial life of church. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

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