The work of The Upper Room has always been grounded in listening prayer and with full anticipation that God is doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:19). The unfolding of this global ecumenical ministry continues today with the naming of a new publisher, Rev. Kimberly Orr, a pastor with a heart for God’s people.
As The Upper Room publisher, Kimberly will serve as a visionary, our spiritual leader, and the CEO with sound business acumen. She will be asked to lead in the most challenging of situations, embracing change and the spiritual landscape while discerning the Spirit’s invitation to explore new possibilities. It’s a crucial position during this momentous time as The Upper Room continues to journey into its second century of ministry and outreach.
The Upper Room is all about offering settings where we all can find a home to create daily life with God. We remain committed to this ministry that is increasingly global, antiracist, and ecumenical.
Please join us in prayer for Kimberly and The Upper Room staff and family during this period of transition and orientation. We welcome her with open arms as she assumes this position on January 1 and find encouragement in her big dream as expressed in her hiring interview: “Let’s journey toward the full expression of God’s hospitable Kingdom through the Church for the sake of the restoration of the world.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Nov. 9, 2020 / Discipleship Ministries / The Rev. Kimberly C. Orr, a teacher, pastor, scholar and writer in diverse ministry settings for over 25 years, will lead The Upper Room’s global ministry beginning Jan. 1 when she becomes Associate General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries and The Upper Room publisher.
The Rev. Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, said Orr, an ordained elder and pastor of spiritual formation at Windsor Village UMC in Houston, will assume the position held by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Bryant, who is retiring.
“Rev. Orr is known to be distinctively Wesleyan, ecumenical, relevant and a cutting-edge practitioner with a commitment to spiritual formation,” Dotson said. “During her 10 years of service to the 15,000-member Windsor Village church, a predominately African American congregation, she directed curriculum development for all ages and stages, coordinating teacher training and managing departmental budget and staff. She also served as scholar in residence on the pastoral team.”
Dotson described Orr as “a leader with a deep and contextual understanding of discipleship-focused resource development. She has an extraordinary sense and feel for the future of faith formation and how it connects to intentional systems of discipleship in local churches.”
“Kimberly is passionate about advancing a culture that invites people to create daily life with God,” Dotson said.
Rev. Orr is also recognized as an ecumenical and interfaith leader and serves on the Interfaith council of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, which actively addresses social justice concerns within the community.
“I look forward to working with General Secretary Dotson and The Upper Room team to build on its storied history, solid branding and global, ecumenical reach,” Orr said. “Together, as we gallop into the heart of the 21st century, we will work to creatively innovate and continue as a premier provider of scriptural holiness and spiritual formation within the Wesleyan tradition. I am grateful for my time at Windsor. During this season I am answering God’s call to a wider mission opportunity at The Upper Room,” Orr said.
Orr earned an undergraduate degree in music education from Sam Houston State University and a master's degree in choral conducting from Rice University. She answered her call to full-time pastoral ministry in 1998 and received her Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2005. She was ordained a full elder in the United Methodist Church in 2009.
She has a zeal for deep biblical study and gleaning truths from the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith. In the spring of 2010, she received her certificate of Jewish Learning from Hebrew University via the Florence Melton School for Adult Learning.
The Upper Room is a global ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual life of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. From its beginnings in 1935 as a daily devotional guide, The Upper Room has grown to include publications, programs, prayer support and other resources to help believers of all ages and denominations move to a deeper level of faith and service.
Bryant, who has served as associate general secretary and The Upper Room publisher since 2017, is retiring after more than three decades at Discipleship Ministries, including a previous 12-year stint as The Upper Room’s world editor/publisher and as executive director of Discipleship Resources International (DRI).
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The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.UMCdiscipleship.org, the Press Center at www.UMCdiscipleship.org/about/press-center or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”