Bishop Willimon announces initiation of Network of Retired Pastors

March 28, 2007

We in the North Alabama Conference have the largest number of retired pastors and spouses that we have had in our entire history as a church. This past year I appointed more retired pastors to service in our churches than any year before.

Our Superannuate Homes ministry is unique throughout United Methodism. Our Conference currently has over one hundred-thirty-one homes for retired pastors and spouses. This remarkable program shows our commitment to care for these who have cared for Christ's church.

Next month, Don Neal, Executive Director of Ordained Ministry and Superannuate Homes, will initiate a Network of Retired Pastors in every district. This will insure that we are connected to our retired pastors and their spouses. A printed directory of retirees, widows and widowers will be created. We will also devise phone chains, a retirees' welcome page for the Conference website, and there will be regular gatherings for pastors and spouses, sponsored through this program. Don is the perfect person not only to care for our retired colleagues but also to enlist them in continuing service to our church.

I am also thrilled that the Board of Superannuate Homes is giving the Chapel in the United Methodist Center to be the Memorial Chapel as a place of permanent recognition and remembrance of our retired clergy. You will be hearing more about ways that we intend to remember these departed servants of Christ at the Memorial Chapel.

Our Association of Retired Ministers has done a good job of ministry with and by our retired pastors but they have also convinced me of the growing need for communication and contact with and among our retired pastors and their families. Don Neal and I welcome your comments and ideas on this extraordinary effort to engage our honored servants of Christ.

William H. Willimon

Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.