Steiner Ball’s Passion: Congregational Development

Rev. Sandra Steiner Ball (left) stands with Dr. Mary White, chair of the EPA Conference delegation, right after her election as a bishop at the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Photo by Richard Vance.

The Rev. Sandra Steiner Ball, who was elected a bishop on the 5th ballot during the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference on July 18, is passionate about congregational development and has experience working on all levels of the church.

Steiner Ball, 50, currently serves as Director of Connectional Ministries in the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference, which endorsed her.

“I love congregational development,” Steiner Ball told communicators shortly after her election. “I am passionate about that. Revitalized congregations and development of new faith communities are what we need in the United Methodist Church.”

Annual conferences can’t go in and revitalize churches, but laity in those churches can, she said. The job of bishops and annual conferences is “motivating and inspiring and helping them see what can be done.”

In introducing Steiner Ball after her election, Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Area,which includes the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, said: “She excels in the area of church development and resourcing and has vast experience in all levels of the church’s life and ministry.”

A graduate of Dickinson College with a B.A. in Religion , she earned her master of divinity  from Duke Divinity School and a D. Min. from Wesley Theological Seminary. In addition to  serving as DCM, she also has served as an interim pastor at Bayside Chapel, (a new church start), a district superintendent, pastor of St. Luke’s UMC in St. Michaels, MD and associate pastor at Kent Island UMC in Chester, MD.

Steiner Ball has served the denomination as a General and Jurisdictional Conference delegate, a member of the Inter-jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the United Methodist Endorsing Committee,and the NEJ Episcopacy Committee. She also serves as a trustee for Wesley College in Dover, DE.

AS a bishop, she said, “One of the things I am most excited about is having an opportunity to be more connected with the global church and building relationships with the global church.”

Steiner Ball is married to a United Methodist chaplain serving at Dover Air Force base. They are the parents of two young adult daughters : Sara, 22,  a graduate of Highpoint University in North Carolina who has been doing mission work in Africa for a year and will begin graduate studies at Highpoint, and Becky, 18, who will begin her second year at Highpoint in the fall.

—Jackie Campbell, Western PA Conference communicator