Rev. Jo Ann Cooper Appointed As Pastor of Gretna United Methodist Church Effective February 1, 2020 The Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee met with Rev. Jan Holloway Curwick, the Missional Strategist and Superintendent for the New Orleans District, on Monday evening, November 18, and received news of the appointment of Gretna’s next pastor, the Rev. Jo Ann Cooper. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Rev. Curwick, and the Cabinet have worked diligently in the selection of Rev. Cooper. Rev. Curwick spoke of Rev. Cooper’s exceptional leadership in all her appointments, her proven ability to lead a church from a place of discouragement and struggle to cohesion and vibrancy, her heart for the disenfranchised and broken, and her specialized training that will enhance her ability to lead Gretna. Rev. Jo Ann has served for close to twenty years as a pastor in the Louisiana Annual Conference. Rev. Jo Ann and her husband Ed, have served as co-pastors at First United Methodist Church in Pineville since 2015. Before being appointed to Pineville, she served as associate pastor of Noel United Methodist Church in Shreveport from 2012 to 2015, St. John's United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge from 2010 to 2012, and First United Methodist Church Monroe from 2005 to 2010. She began her pastoral ministry as the pastor of the Bartholomew/Beekman charge in northeast Louisiana from 2000 to 2005. Rev. Cooper completed the Ministerial Course of Study at Millsap College in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2007. Rev. Cooper trained as a Transitional Interim Ministry Specialist. She received Paraprofessional Spiritual Formation Certification through the General Board of Higher Education and the Louisiana Conference. Rev. Cooper is a part of the Cursillo and Ashram communities. She also currently serves on the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, Division of Elders, and in March will complete four years with the Leadership Excellent Advancement Program sponsored by the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana. Rev. Cooper has a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in January 2020 with Bishop Harvey and is leading an extension to Petra, returning to the United States on February 3. She will be in the office on February 4. Her first day of leading Gretna in worship will be February 9, 2020. Rev. Callie Winn Crawford has graciously agreed to stay at Gretna UMC throughout January 2020 and will preach on February 2. Rev. Cooper’s husband, Ed, will remain at First United Methodist Church, Pineville, through the end of the present conference year and then will be appointed to a church in the New Orleans area beginning July 1. There will be opportunities for welcoming Rev. Cooper to Gretna in the future. For now, pray for her as she finishes her appointment in Pineville and prepares to lead Gretna UMC.
Blessings, Natalie Ambrose Philip Chair, Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee