Larry Goodpaster

Bishop Larry Goodpaster


United States

Southeastern Jurisdiction


Bishop Larry Goodpaster is a retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 2000-2016. 

From 2010-2012, Bishop Goodpaster was the President of the Council of Bishops. 

He was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He spent his early childhood in Crenshaw, Mississippi, before moving with his family to northern Indiana. He earned his B. A. degree from Millsaps College, then attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he earned an M. Div. degree. Larry was ordained a deacon in the former North Mississippi Conference by Bishop Edward J. Pendergrass. He was ordained an elder by Bishop Mack B. Stokes. He earned his D. Min. degree from Candler School of Theology.

Upon receiving his M. Div. degree, Larry served a variety of appointments in Mississippi, including an appointment as a District Superintendent of the Tupelo District. At the time of his election to the episcopacy, he was Senior Pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was also a member of the Task Force that brought about the 1988 merger of the former North Mississippi Conference, and the Mississippi Conference, resulting in the current Mississippi Conference.

 He was a delegate to three General Conferences (1992, 1996, and 2000), and four Jurisdictional Conferences (1988-2000).

Larry M. Goodpaster was elected to the episcopacy at the 2000 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and assigned to the Alabama-West Florida Area where he served for eight years. In 2008, he was assigned to the Western North Carolina Conference.

He has published a book and several articles in preaching journals, and was an instructor in the Course of Study for Local Pastors for 9 years.

Deborah Phoebe Cox and Larry M. Goodpaster were married on September 26, 1971, while he was attending Candler School of Theology. They have two daughters and one son-in-law. Their older daughter is Amy, who is married to Eric Bradley. Their younger daughter is Lucy.