Joseph Pennel

Bishop Joseph Pennel


United States

Southeastern Jurisdiction


Bishop Joe E. Pennel, Jr. is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 1996-2004.

He is a graduate of Lambuth College, and earned both M.A. and D.Min. degrees from Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Ordained deacon and elder by Bishop Marvin A. Franklin, Joe served parishes located in rural areas, university settings, inner cities, and the suburbs. The congregations ranged from 25 to 4500 and were all in the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences.

Joe E. Pennel, Jr., was elected to the episcopacy by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in July of 1996 and assigned to the Richmond Area, where he served until his retirement in 2004.

He has served as chair of the Board of Advisors for Vanderbilt Divinity School and the Candler School of Theology. He has been a member of the Board of Publications and has served the Tennessee Annual Conference as Chair of the Board of Pensions and the Committee on the Episcopacy.

In addition to the local church, Joe has a strong interest in theological education, racial/ethnic issues, the emerging role of women in the Church and empowering the laity and spiritual formation. He currently serves in a faculty appointment to Vanderbilt Divinity School as Professor of Pastoral Leadership.

Janene Dunavant and Joe were married in 1962; they are the parents of Melanie and Heather who are both married.