The face of the North Alabama Conference Cabinet will be changing this spring, with a series of appointments announced by Bishop Willimon.
“We have been making some dramatic changes in the role of the District Superintendent,” said Bishop Willimon. “Our Cabinet has transformed the way we appoint and deploy pastors, making some wonderful innovations in the appointive process. We have also equipped our Superintendents to be coaches and mentors to our pastors and churches and we are reaping positive results.”
This year, two veteran Superintendents will retire. The Reverend Charles Lee will retire from the Southwest District and the Revered Dr. Mickey Morgan will retire from the South Central District.
“Mickey and Charles have led the transformation of the work of the ministry of oversight in North Alabama. They have both taught me how to be a bishop and I shall always be grateful that the Lord called them to this ministry,” commented Bishop Willimon.
Charles Lee has been a pioneer and served two prominent congregations (Huffman UMC and Christ Church UM in Birmingham) as their first cross-racial appointed pastor. As the first Superintendent of the Southwest District, Rev. Lee was noted for his leadership in connectional giving and in support and mentoring of young pastors.
Mickey Morgan served some of the most vital, large churches of the Conference including Vestavia Hills UMC and Birmingham First UMC. As the first Superintendent of the South Central District he assisted the bishop in special projects and in the convening of the Cabinet.
“Charles and Mickey are strong leaders who have set high standards for their pastors and their churches,” said Bishop Willimon.
The Reverend Kip Laxson will move from a vibrant pastorate at Alabaster First UMC to the leadership of the Southwest District.
“Kip is a model transformative pastor,” said Bishop Willimon. “He succeeds Charles Lee in one of our best performing districts. I’m sure that he will be a resource for the whole Conference with his great knowledge and experience in church growth and congregational excellence. Kip has shown that he knows how to motivate and to lead in the Kingdom of God.”
One striking innovation this year is that the Rev. Ron Schultz, Superintendent of the Central District, will also serve as Superintendent of the South Central District beginning in June 2009.
“While these are two of our smaller districts, geographically and in the number of churches, they are also the districts where we have some of our most dynamic larger congregations,” said Bishop Willimon. “Ron Schultz has shown he has remarkable leadership abilities. In bleak and uncertain economic times this arrangement, due to the current financial crisis, will enable us to cut administrative costs even further while at the same time we expand our ministries related to the four Conference priorities.”
“The Cabinet has been working toward utilizing District Superintendents throughout the Conference on the basis of their individual gifts and vocations, regardless of their geographical location,” Bishop Willimon adds.
“I’m thrilled that our Conference is leading the United Methodist Church in restructuring the role and expectations for the ministry of oversight and supervision,” said Rev. Schultz.