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New women bishops of the UMC: A Profile of Bishop Lanette Plambeck

By: Rev. Emily Nelms Chastain, PhD student at Boston University, member of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women Board

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At age nine, Lanette Plambeck was hospitalized for six weeks with  the H2N2 flu virus. While she was in the hospital, she woke up with the assurance that God had a plan for her to be a storyteller.

Her first part-time appointment as a pastor covered areas of missions, evangelism, and student ministry. With a one-year-old daughter in tow, and with her gifts of connection and storytelling, the church knew that God sent her specifically to them.

Plambeck recalled that throughout her ministry she has “never not enjoyed” where she was appointed. Churches have always appreciated her for who she was and were refreshed by her leadership style. She engages in ministry from a posture of kindness, integrity and personal responsibility.

During her time in ministry, Plambeck fondly remembered several of her proudest moments. She received the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Athena Award, a national leadership award for women, in 2015 while she served in the Atlantic First Mission. She created relationships and built an emerging lay ministry  with Micronesian immigrants in Iowa  where on their first Sunday as a worshipping community they had 80 attendees to learn more about the Wesleyan Way. She also acknowledged her ministry with veterans, as she shares that status with those whom have served in the military. She appreciated the ability of the veterans’ ministry to hold space to name moral trauma and readjust to returning home. She sponsored “Sister to Sister,” a ministry with women who were survivors of sexual assault, where women could lift up women in a sacred safe space. She also celebrated “Tuesday’s Ministry,” a ministry for people who were unhoused for a space of support, education, housing, and medical offerings that became entirely lay-led. In these ministries, Plambeck loved to see generative lay leadership from her congregations engaging in community ministries with significant impact.

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