Appointments to be announcedPosted: April 5, 2014
Sunday, April 6, announcements will be made in congregations across the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences with regard to pastoral changes. The appointive cabinet has been at work for the last several months striving to listen and discern those appointments that will be missional and foster fruitful and faithful ministry across the two conferences. The work has been done prayerfully and faithfully.
Itinerancy is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the United Methodist Church.
It was instituted by John Wesley in 1746 when he appointed lay preachers whom he called “helpers” as a means to serve definitive circuits. This is the method by which we provide pastoral leadership to congregations in our denomination. Over time the process has been modified and timing has shifted, but, essentially, we continue to live by process we call itinerancy.
Our process is rooted in the Biblical understanding that God’s people are a sent people. Throughout Scripture, God is continually calling and sending persons into the mission field to offer the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus sent the 12 Disciples and later 70+ others to preach Good News to the poor, release to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind.
We Methodists are a sent people. So it is, each spring the Bishop and District Superintendents do the challenging work of determining pastoral leadership for congregations.
Our goal is always to create the best possible matches between pastors and congregations based on:
– The missional needs of communities
– A desire to have healthy, vital congregations
– A call to reach persons living in our neighborhoods, communities and cities with the Good News of Jesus Christ
– A pastor’s fruitfulness and faithfulness
So it is that we have completed the appointive work for this year. Some pastors and congregations not expecting a move will be having changes. We will ask some pastors to move when it was not their expectation. Some pastors will move at a salary increase. Some will move at a salary decrease.
Across the Nashville Area, there will be almost $300,000 less salary dollars available as a result of congregations which are reducing salary support in order to be faithful to their mission and ministry. Some station churches are now at the point of needing to be aligned with a sister church creating a two or three point charge served by one pastor in order to provide an adequate salary package for a pastor.
We have also increased the number of “across the river” appointments.
In all, the work has been prayerful and hopeful for those sent into the mission field across our two annual conferences. In the near future, when it is clear that all of our appointments are fixed, we will post them on this blog for your information.
Please continue to pray for all who are in the midst of transitions, especially spouses and children who will be uprooted.
After posting this article our fine District Superintendents reminded me that we had not in fact completed all our work. Our Part-time appointments have not, in every district, been completed. These appointments are typically considered appointments that the District Superintendent makes, usually within the leadership of a particular district.
In most cases, our small membership churches are served wonderfully by bi-vocational pastors who are bound to a specific geographical area due to secular employment. Thus, their ability to itinerate is often limited to a district.
There is no way we can provide leadership to our many rural congregations without the faithful work of these who serve the small membership congregations across our two conferences.
I deeply regret my oversight on this important matter.
Bishop Bill McAlilly