Bishop Mike Coyner announced on March 9 the appointment of the Rev. Katharine "Kate" Lehman Walker as an interim district superintendent of the Lafayette District in the North Indiana Annual Conference, effective June 16.
Lehman Walker, 58, will succeed the Rev. Michelle Cobb, who has served as district superintendent of the Lafayette District since 2001. Coyner announced earlier in March Cobb's appointment as superintendent of the Calumet District also effective June 16.
Lehman Walker, who served as superintendent of the Lafayette District from 1995 to 2001 prior to Cobb's appointment, returns from retirement to fulfill this responsibility which Coyner terms as an "interim" or short-term appointment to care for the Lafayette District while decisions are made by the Imagine Indiana process about the number of districts and other issues related to a possible unity of the North and South Indiana conferences of the church to create a new conference. That decision will be made in June at the North Indiana Annual Conference session at Purdue University in West Lafayette and the South Indiana Annual Conference session at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Coyner said, "After considering that option further, Kate seemed the logical person, since she lives in West Lafayette and previously served as superintendent of the Lafayette District. I asked Kate to consider coming out of retirement to serve for a short-term basis, and she readily agreed. The Cabinet is excited to have Kate rejoin the group, and I personally look forward to her leadership in this ministry."
Lehman Walker, a native of Topeka, Ind., retired from active pastoral ministry in 2004 after serving First United Methodist Church in Lafayette from 2001. Other pastoral appointments included Church of the Covenant in Fort Wayne (1993-1995), associate pastor at Trinity in Elkhart (1989-1993), Macy (1986-1989) and churches in Arkansas and Texas after graduating with a master's degree from Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. She was ordained an Elder of the North Indiana Conference in 1987.
Lehman Walker graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University in 1970. As a university student, she became acquainted with the North Indiana Conference serving with summer programs at the conference's Epworth Forest in North Webster. Following her graduation, she taught fourth- and seventh-graders from 1970 to 1973 on the West Indies island of Antigua. In 1978 she became a resident supervisor or "dorm mom" at a Christian school in India.
She is a past president of the Board of Ordained Ministry for the North Indiana Conference serving from 1992 to 1995. She succeeded Coyner as Lafayette District Superintendent when he became the executive assistant to Bishop Woodie W. White and later was elected to the episcopacy in 1996.
She and her husband, Charles, live in West Lafayette.