Bishop Ward talks about what to expect from the appointment process this year in this Connections video.
I give thanks for the polity, the organization of the United Methodist Church, and today I give particular thanks to those of you within the hearing of my voice, who serve as members of the Pastor/Parish committee in your church.
We all today give thanks for you because you bear a particular responsibility. You have been identified and elected, and prayed for by the members of your congregation, and by our entire congregation, particularly in this season.
The Pastor/Parish committee engages with the Bishop and cabinet in on-going consultation. In other words, we live together in such a way that we know one another. And in every church, the Pastor/Parish committee is particularly chosen and charged to support the ministry of the clergy, to engage with the congregation when people are called forth from among the laity, to move toward clergy leadership in our church. To remind the clergy to work in ways that are fruitful, but also, to protect times of Sabbath and renewal. In all these ways, Pastor/Parish committees are a great gift to us.
The eight district superintendents and I are working in our cabinet meetings, this month in March, and next month in April, to make clergy appointments for the next year. These appointments will be completed the week after Easter.
In churches where there will be a transition in clergy leadership, the announcement will be made on Sunday, April 7th, the Sunday after Easter. The Pastor/Parish chairperson will announce the appointment of a new pastor and share that pastors’ name; and will lead the congregation in a prayer of thanksgiving for the pastoral leadership of the clergy who will be moving to a new appointment.
We offer a gift to Pastor/Parish committees and to moving clergy this year. On Tuesday, April 16th, we will offer a seminar for transition; and this day, we’ll offer to Pastor/Parish committees and to the clergy, wisdom on creating a strong and good ending, for a pastor who is leaving a church.
We will also work together to receive a template for a first year in a new place, so that we might, together, begin well as we welcome a new pastor into our into our churches, and work together, toward the best possible beginning. We will be led in this day by Doug Anderson, a skilled person from the Indiana Annual Conference, who will be a great gift to us.
Many more of our churches will remain constant, under the leadership of your current pastor. I share with you this plan for transition, so that you may be prayerful, for all the clergy of our Annual Conference, for all the churches and Pastor/Parish committees across our Annual Conference, and for the Bishop and the Cabinet as we do this essential work.
Our founder, John Wesley, commented long ago, “There is no preacher among us who has every gift, for the up-building of a congregation.” and we who are clergy give thanks for the itinerary, for the opportunity to serve, and to be appointed to our work.
Let us be prayerful together, this day, giving thanks to God, through Jesus Christ, the Lord of the church.