Many of you have already heard that both Eddie Hilliard and Jim Calvert are being appointed to other United Methodist Churches. Eddie will be appointed to serve as Senior Pastor of Sealy United Methodist Church while Jim will be the Senior Pastor of Onalaska United Methodist Church.
Yes, it will be hard for us to say good-bye, but these are great opportunities for Eddie and Jim. One way to look at all of this is that FUMCMC does such a good job in mentoring and “teaching” our associate pastors, that the Conference often uses our associates to lead other United Methodist Churches.
We have included some frequently asked questions in The Connection to give you more information concerning the United Methodist Church and how pastors are appointed to local congregations.
On June 10, 2018, there will be a Chapel service and a 10:30 combined service. We will celebrate communion together. Our Quarterly Conference will be that evening, featuring a BBQ dinner (prepared by our own Art Ruiz) and a special program to honor the Hilliard and Calvert families and all they have done for us! Be on the lookout for more information…
1. WHY DO METHODIST MINISTERS MOVE?
John Wesley began the itinerant system during his work in England. Wesley developed circuits for his assistants to travel, each of which included a large number of appointments. Preachers visited these appointments about once a month and changed circuits from year to year, depending on the current circumstances. On American soil, itinerancy adapted to the conditions at hand. Traveling preachers became known as circuit riders as they rode from one outpost to another helping organize, lead, and perform the sacraments for groups of Christians across the frontier. This system enabled Methodist preachers to reach new settlements quickly. The rapid growth of Methodism throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in America can be partly attributed to this form of organization. It is said that at one time, there were more Methodist churches than there were post offices. Our current itinerant system has been built upon this tradition of strategic deployment of circuit riding preachers. Pastors now reside in community, serving local congregations, and are appointed to serve each year. Appointments are made yearly when the Annual Conference meets. Thus, Methodist pastors itinerate, moving from place to place as ministry possibilities determine.
2. HOW ARE APPOINTMENTS DETERMINED?
Churches in the UMC receive new pastors through a system called itinerancy. Itinerancy is a system of church organization in which ministers are sent to local churches by a Bishop and are regularly rotated from one to another. Ministers and Bishops are all part of a geographically organized conference (ours is the Texas Conference) which is broken down further into districts. The conference limits where a Bishop can appoint each pastor to serve. The appointments aren’t random—every year the Bishop and District Superintendents consult with the clergy and with each church in the conference. Through much prayer and conferencing, they then seek to determine where to send pastors so that the UMC can best live out its mission: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The gifts of the pastor, his or her family/life situation, the needs of a local church, the needs of the denomination, and many other factors are involved in the process.
3. WHY ARE EDDIE AND JIM MOVING?
Eddie is being moved because he has the desire to serve a local church as the Senior Pastor. Jim is a different story. Even though Jim is new to the process and has only been working here part-time (15-20 hours per week), the gifts and graces he has were recognized by our DS and Bishop. And because of many factors, Jim was asked to serve a church that needed those gifts and graces. Because Jim is not commissioned or ordained, Jim does not have to itinerate but chose to accept this opportunity.
4. ARE WE GETTING A NEW ASSOCIATE MINISTER APPOINTED TO THE CHURCH?
The short answer is “No, not at this time.” This is a strange year because there is a shortage of available ordained clergy. In fact, there are four churches that will not be offered an associate pastor to replace one that is being moved. Additionally, some churches are being served by interim pastors.
5. HOW ARE WE GOING TO REPLACE EDDIE AND JIM?
It is our pleasure to announce that Dr. Richard Burnham will be assuming additional responsibilities to ensure nothing is left undone. Part of his new responsibilities will be to assist Marty with hospital visits as well as other congregational care responsibilities. We have also begun exploring other possibilities that are available to us. Please watch for more details in the coming weeks.
6. IS MARTY GOING TO MOVE?
The really short answer is “No!”