Rev. Magoni elected as Conference’s first female, deacon BOM chairperson


By Kara Witherow, Editor

Healthy. Fruitful. Effective.

The fruit borne out in Rev. Fran Magoni’s ministry and life made her a clear choice to succeed Rev. Scott Tucker as chairperson of the South Georgia Conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry. 

Rev. Magoni, pastor of discipleship and administration at Martha Bowman United Methodist Church in Macon, is the first deacon and first female to serve in this role. The historic nature of the role isn’t the first thing that came to her mind when she accepted it, though, she says.

“I was thinking of the responsibility and whether I have the gifts and graces to do the job. I thought more about how I can be effective,” she said. “My heart is to make sure that I show up, lean in, and work hard to serve the conference well.”

Rev. Magoni, who was commissioned in 2013 and ordained in 2015, has served on the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) since 2016. She’s also served as a Residency in Ministry Program (RIM) mentor and as BOM secretary. When searching for a successor, Rev. Tucker and others looked for someone with a healthy and fruitful ministry, he said.

“We saw the vitality of her ministry in several different settings, and all of it worked together to point us in her direction, and she was willing to jump into it,” Rev. Tucker said of Rev. Magoni.

The Board of Ordained Ministry is vital to the Conference in that it helps determine the fitness, readiness, and effectiveness of those who seek to serve in The United Methodist Church. Having served as chairperson of the BOM for four years, Rev. Tucker equates overseeing the process to conducting an orchestra. 

Dr. Jay Harris, who serves as Assistant to the Bishop for Ministerial Services, works closely with the BOM and sees the responsibilities held by the chairperson.

“I have always had a deep appreciation for the chairs of the Board of Ordained Ministry, who, like other leaders working on the Board, volunteer their time in addition to their ministries in the local church,” he said. “The chairperson looks over the whole and helps order the moving parts of the Board's responsibilities, processes, and deliberations, and makes sure that all of this is helping build a diverse group of clergy women and men who are discovering the fullness of God's call and leading the church effectively. Fran has been shadowing the outgoing Board chair for the past year and has demonstrated that she will do a great job.”

In talking about important traits a BOM chairperson should have, Rev. Tucker returns, time and time again, to fruitfulness.

“Modeling healthy living out of whichever form of pastoral identity you have, that’s kind of where I see that board chair role,” he said. “And that’s one reason why I think it’s good for us to have our first female chair and our first full deacon chairperson, to more fully recognize that there are important gifts that our female elders and deacons bring to the table and that our deacons bring to the table. It helps us lift up a holistic picture of what the ministry looks like. It doesn’t just look like one thing. It can look like a lot of things.”

Rev. Magoni says she’s humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve and looks forward to getting to know candidates and the pastors and laity with whom she’ll serve.

The South Georgia Conference has been a fertile ground to grow her ministry and develop her skills and talents, she said.

“I feel so thankful for the attitude of the South Georgia Conference and its leadership towards being a woman in ministry. Throughout my time, I have felt so affirmed, so encouraged, and I have never felt like my gender was an obstacle or a barrier,” she said. “I know that’s not everyone’s story, but I am very grateful for those who paved the way and the work the South Georgia Conference has done to make sure that we are an inclusive conference.”

As she looks forward to her four years as BOM chairperson, she knows the importance of the role and its impact on the lives of those who are called into ministry, the congregations they will serve, and the Conference as a whole.

“The board touches a lot of lives, and as a part of that you get to know the stories of a lot of people who are saying yes to the call to ministry,” she said. “It’s a joy to be able to be a part of that.”

Photo courtesy of Maureen King