Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary 1993
Bishop of the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church
Bishop Tracy Smith Malone was assigned to the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist effective September 1, 2016. She was district superintendent of the Chicago Southern Region, and was dean of the Northern Illinois Conference Cabinet, when she was elected to the Episcopacy. Prior to that appointment, Bishop Malone served several different churches, the last of which was Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton, Illinois, where she was senior pastor.
Bishop Malone describes the essence of her ministry in three words, “faith in action.” No matter the role or capacity in which she serves, this is the mark of her ministry. As pastor, district strategist, CBE board member, and General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) board member, she demonstrates faith in action, working to bring the gospel alive and equip leaders for real, relevant, transforming ministry.
Living a faithful gospel life, for Bishop Malone, means that one has truly embraced and internalized the love and grace of God and has a deep desire to operate out of that love. This brings her back to putting faith into action. Faithfulness moves from personal holiness to social holiness; being grounded in knowing who and whose you are and, through that, bearing fruit in one’s life. This is done, in part, by making the gospel relevant through engaging in life-changing ministry for the sake of the gospel. Evidence of faithfulness is borne by the integration of personal piety, social piety, holiness, and public theology; it should be evident in one’s ministry, in teaching, and in developing others. From there, she explains that gospel ministry means finding movement and rhythm in how one equips others to live a holy life.
Bishop Malone draws inspiration from seeing in clergy and laity a deep desire to know the fullness of Christ and to be Christ’s disciples. Even if the numbers might not say that—the actual sight of faithful lay and clergy giving their resources and making a difference shows the desires of the Church wanting to be the Church. Along with this, Bishop Malone’s family and faithful co-workers inspire her. The support, patience, and honor they offer let her know they believe in her and are sojourning with her. These co-workers who have not grown weary in giving love, inspire and motivate her to continue in ministry.
Bishop Malone reflects on her experience at Garrett-Evangelical as a formative part of her theology and integral in helping her embrace and define who she is: “We had to walk out of class being able to articulate what we believe and what the foundation was from which we operate.” Furthermore, Garrett-Evangelical continues to offer opportunities for exploration and growth, providing a space to learn, relearn, and unlearn: “coming back to Garrett-Evangelical is a reminder of finding one’s voice in the wilderness.”