Currently the Cabinet, Pastors, Staff-Parish Relations Committees (SPRC), and churches are working on the upcoming appointment year, which spans from July 2019 to June 2020. To inform you of our process, but most importantly to ask for your prayers, I want to share the following information:
The Cabinet, consisting of the eight District Superintendents, the Assistant to the Bishop, and myself will be working to make over 650 appointments between now and annual conference, which is scheduled for June 2-5. While we may also consult with key conference staff members who represent multicultural ministries and new church starts, it is only the Cabinet who will be projecting the appointments. It is a vital process and is why I seek your prayers.
There are many factors that go into this process including retirements, clergy deaths, church and pastor needs/concerns, and family considerations. This will be my tenth year that I have sat at an appointment table either as a District Superintendent or Bishop. What I have come to experience is that the Holy Spirit is in the process. As unusual as this may sound, I have been so blessed by my appointment making time. It is sacred work and the Alabama-West Florida Conference has a Godly Cabinet that makes our work deep and rich. Please pray for us!
To help guide your time of prayer, let me share a timeline of our work:
December: Each District Superintendent shared with the cabinet about the ministry and needs of their districts related to appointments. We also reflected on how the results of the special called General Conference session might influence our work.
January: The Cabinet met the 8th-10th to take our December conversations to a deeper level. District Superintendents continue to hold consultations and SPRCs are also in the process of meeting to evaluate their pastoral needs.
February 4-6: We will determine which churches and/or pastors have requested a return or move. In some cases, the appointment is open due to a retirement, death or vacancy. I estimate 75-80% of pastors will be marked as a return. During this time, we will begin to make some appointment projections.
March 5-6: We will continue this process, but most of our work will be centered around how we move forward following the special called General Conference.
March 20-22: The Cabinet will project most of the appointments during these days.
March 28-29: We will seek to finish our work and prepare to communicate to all the pastors and church SPRCs.
April 1-3: Those pastors moving will receive a phone call from their District Superintendent to arrange a meeting to review their projected appointment. SPRC chairs will be called and informed of the projected appointment. The full SPRC will then be informed and all committee members will be required to keep the appointment confidential.
April 11-12: The Cabinet meets to review all projections and to make any adjustments. Following April 12, pastors and churches are free to publicly communicate the new appointment unless otherwise directed by the District Superintendent.
April 13-June 5: The Cabinet will continue to work at filling part-time appointments and handling other situations that might arise as pastoral introductions are made.
As you see, the appointment process involves most of our year with March and April being the most intense months of our work. In my mind, it is the most important work we do and led by God’s will. I feel it important to be transparent to all our clergy and congregations.
Thank you for your ministry; we need your prayers.
Bishop David Graves
Resident Bishop, Alabama-West Florida Conference