Lawson Bryan

Bishop Lawson Bryan


United States

Southeastern Jurisdiction


Bishop Lawson Bryan is a retired Bishop in The United Methodist Church, serving from 2016-2021. 

Born: June 13, 1950 in Quincy, Florida 
Raised in Dothan, AL
Graduated from Dothan High School, 1968
Bachelor of Science, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, cum laude
Master of Divinity, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, cum laude

Doctor of Ministry, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Married to Sherrill O. Cooper of Thomaston, AL;  their son, Philip, lives in Montgomery and is chief of staff for the president pro-tem of the Alabama State Senate. On October 10, 2015, Philip and Brittany Woodham were married at First UMC Montgomery.


  • 1975—Associate Pastor, Trinity UMC, Opelika, AL
  • 1976—Pastor, Hiland Park UMC, Panama City, FL
  • 1980—Pastor, Dexter Avenue UMC, Montgomery, AL
  • 1986—Pastor, First UMC, Brewton, AL
  • 1990—Pastor, Ashland Place UMC, Mobile, AL
  • 1997—Pastor, First UMC, Dothan, AL
  • 2007— Senior Pastor, First UMC, Montgomery, AL
  • 2016— Elected Bishop
  • 2016— Assigned to the South Georgia Annual Conference

Other Involvement:

Alabama-West Florida Conference Leadership

  • Chaired Alabama-West Florida Conference Council on Ministries, 1996-98
  • Served as board chair, Academy for Congregational Excellence, 2011-2016
  • Dothan District Committee on Ministry, Chair, 2000-2006
  • Alabama-West Florida Conference Board of Ministry, 1980-88; 2000-2012
  • Huntingdon College Board of Trustees, 2001-present
  • Chaired Board of Ordained Ministry, Alabama West-Florida Conference, 2007-2009
  • Participant and Leader in Three-year Covenant Community for Spiritual Growth
  • Developed partnership between First United Methodist Church Montgomery and Huntingdon College to provide intern program
  • Organized and hosted annual Pan-Methodist Pentecost Service

Southeastern Jurisdiction Leadership
Chaired Southeastern Jurisdiction Larger Church Consultation, 2001-2002

General Church Leadership
General Conference delegate in 2012 and 2016
Chaired Financial Administration Sub-committee at General Conference 2016

Local Church and Community Leadership

  • Leadership Mobile, Class of 1992
  • Chaired the Alzheimer’s Association “Walk to Remember,” 2000-2001
  • Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, 2002-2005
  • Member of Downtown Rotary Club of Montgomery, 2007-present
  • Chaired Believe It! Montgomery, community partnership for public schools
  • Author of Pursuing Science, Finding Faith
  • Member of the Committee of 100 – Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  • Member of Leadership Alabama
  • Teaching Parish Supervisor – Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  • Chaired the Visioning Team for Adult Respite Ministry of First UMC Montgomery