News > Georgia United Methodist Foundation Announces New Addition to Ministry Team and Retirement

Georgia United Methodist Foundation Announces New Addition to Ministry Team and Retirement

Posted: April 16, 2024
Rev. Doreen Smalls, Vice Chair

The Georgia United Methodist Foundation is pleased to announce Rev. Doreen Smalls as its new South Georgia Regional Vice President. In addition to her ministry in South Georgia, Rev. Smalls will serve as the Foundation’s new Director of Lending.  

Rev. Smalls will assume responsibilities previously held by Jim Pope, whose retirement from the Director of Lending position was announced in January 2024. She will also succeed Rev. Dr. Laudis H. “Rick” Lanford, who will retire from his position as Regional Vice-President at the SGA Annual Conference in June 2024. 

Dr. Laudis H. “Rick” Lanford, Regional Vice President

Rev. Dr. Rick Lanford

“The one word that comes to mind when I think of Rick is that of a connector,” said Caroline Edenfield, President and CEO of The Foundation of The Methodist Children’s Home. “By using the gifts and graces that he has been blessed with, Rick has connected with hundreds and thousands of people during his time of ministry as a pastor, chaplain, executive director, and superintendent. I have seen him bring people into God’s Kingdom for the first time as well as lead people back after a brief or sometimes long period of estrangement.”  

Rick has been an instrument of God’s grace for Methodists in SGA for decades and has served at the Foundation since 2020. “Rick seems to know everyone in SGA. Not only does he know them, he loves them. In our short time of shared ministry, I have been inspired by a man of integrity and deep commitment to the cause of Christ. We wish Rick and his wife Kim many retirement years of family, fishing, and fun,” said Elizabeth Coppedge-Henley, President and CEO of the Foundation.

Rev. Smalls was appointed to serve as the Southwest District Superintendent in 2018. In 2023, she was appointed as the District Superintendent of both the Northwest and Southwest districts. In addition to serving several local churches in South Georgia, she previously served as Associate Director of Office of Connectional Ministries as well as Conference Secretary of Global Ministries for the South Georgia Annual Conference. Rev. Smalls has served on the GUMF Board Trustees since 2020.

Prior to ordained ministry, Rev. Smalls had a career in healthcare finance. As both clergy and as an experienced finance professional, Rev. Smalls brings a valuable set of skills that uniquely align with the Foundation’s ministry.  

“Rev. Smalls is the perfect addition to the ministry of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, and I look forward to the financial and relational growth that her new role will help us unlock,” said Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Coppedge Henley, president and CEO of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation. “She has not only the skill and expertise to advance our financial offerings and possibilities for partnership, but also the experience of and heart for church ministry. We are grateful Rev. Smalls has answered the call to this new ministry on behalf of Methodists in Georgia.”

Rev. Smalls earned a bachelor’s degree in management and finance from the University of South Carolina and is a graduate of The Interdenominational Theological Center/Gammon Seminary in Atlanta. She completed her theological studies with academic honors in 2005 and graduated with a master of divinity degree in pastoral care/psychology of religion. She was ordained an elder in full connection in the South Georgia Conference in 2008. 

Rev. Smalls will begin her appointment at the Foundation on September 1, 2024.   

At the Foundation, our purpose is your mission.  For more information about the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, contact Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Coppedge-Henley at