Seasons mark the rhythm of our lives. Though seasons in the Northern Hemisphere are opposite of those in the Southern Hemisphere, every area of the world experiences a version of spring, summer, fall and winter. The Christian year also is structured by seasons. Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, Eastertide, Pentecost and Ordinary Time guide Christ-followers in our annual pilgrimage from the manger to the empty tomb and beyond.
We United Methodists experience a third category of seasons called “appointment-making.” Though it is actually a 365 day a year process, the bulk of the appointment-making work takes place in the spring. While high confidentiality is observed about specific assignments until all of the appointments are released, the cabinet is transparent about the process. Thus, each year I write a blog describing various aspects of the process.
The goal of the appointment-making process in North Alabama is to deploy our clergy spiritual leaders for maximum effective ministry in the coming year. We focus on appointments that move us toward our mission to discover, develop and deploy spiritual leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We strive to utilize a process that lowers anxiety, discourages “gossip”, encourages a healthy Conference environment and respects clergy and churches.
The appointment-making process begins with district superintendents consulting with staff-parish relations committees and clergy. Each clergy who is potentially in the moving picture also meets with a group of three to four district superintendents to share their specific gifts, graces and circumstances. This is followed by four sets of appointment-making meetings where the cabinet prays specifically for each church/clergy in the moving picture . . . carefully “exegetes” clergy and churches . . . reviews the overall appointment picture and makes appointments for the coming year.
The 2016 appointment-making schedule is:
|1st Appointment-Making Retreat:
|2nd Appointment-Making Retreat:
|3rd Appointment-Making Retreat:
|Final Appointment-Making Meeting:
District superintendents will contact clergy about their new appointments on April 7 and staff-parish relations committee chairs on April 8. Appointments will be announced on Sunday morning, April 10, in churches receiving new pastors and posted on the conference website in the afternoon. This announcement process increases the likelihood for individuals to receive news of moves affecting them from the appropriate persons as opposed to a grapevine.
||Moving Pastor Retreat
Every moving clergy is requested to
make it a priority to attend this event.
||First Sunday in new appointment
Yes, we are in the midst of the appointment-making season in the North Alabama Conference. Thank you for your prayers and cooperative spirit as we walk through this important season in the life of our annual conference year.
I am grateful for the United Methodist clergy and churches in North Alabama. As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference