Appointments

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Appointment-making in the UMC is a arduous task. We just finished the process of making the tentative appointments that will take effect June 30. Today I rested. In the morning I will be preaching at St. John, Columbia. Tomorrow afternoon I will call all the church Pastor-Parish Chairpersons and the clergy where a move is projected. One of the things that I will say over and over is how we bathed the whole process in prayer.

I feel extremely good about all of the appointments, and particularly good about the ones for the Columbia District. Monday morning I will meet with the clergy who are projected to move and give them a copy of the church’s profile where they are anticipated to go. Monday afternoon I will give a copy of the pastor’s profile to the S/PPRC chairs. Everyone has until next Friday morning at 10 am to give a written reason why the match won’t work and ask for reconsideration. Then the Cabinet will meet April 5-7 and reconsider the appointments.

I started last week with a lot of anxiety, and feel great peace about each situation tonight. I know all of the churches and pastors are still feeling the uncertainty. My prayers are with them. I’ve been there. I was in my fourth appointment thinking I was staying when I got an unexpected call from the Bishop. It was after appointment-making was finished. Everyone knew who was moving, and I wasn’t one of them, but a pastor died of a sudden heart attack. We loved where we were. Cindy had a great job as a Guidance Counselor in a school she loved. The church was thriving. The kids were great. Narcie was going into her senior year of high school. Josh was a rising junior, and Caleb the next fall would have been a freshman.

Nobody thinks it’s a great idea for their rising senior to move, but Narcie thrived in her senior year at the next school. Josh did great, and Caleb adapted though the move was probably toughest on him. There was no local job for Cindy in education so she ended up as a Guidance Counselor in a North Carolina Elementary School. Such is the price of itineracy. In the UMC, we are a sent ministry, whether lay or clergy. As a District Superintendent one has to look at the big picture, put the needs of the churches first and send our clergy to where they are best needed.

Ordained clergy wear a stole symbolizing this whole process. The stole reminds us that we are under orders as we wear the yoke of Christ. The stole is like the yoke on oxen or the reins on a horse representing God’s tug in one direction or another. I feel this week the whole Cabinet felt that yoke and are being used by God to send our clergy in the best directions possible. That’s my prayer and hope on this tired but exciting Saturday night.

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