A Word from Bishop Graves
Colleagues and friends,
Currently the Cabinet, pastors, staff-parish relations committees, and churches are working on the upcoming appointment year which runs July 2023 to June 2024. I have found that Cabinet transparency is vital in building trust. To inform you of our process, but most importantly to ask for your prayers, I want to share the following.
The Cabinet, consisting of the six district superintendents, Dr. Jay Harris, and myself, will be working to make appointments between now and Annual Conference, scheduled for June 4-6 in Tifton, Ga.
There are many factors that go into this process: retirements, appointments open due to the death of a pastor, pastors leaving our annual conference, local church needs and concerns, pastors’ needs and concerns, and family considerations, to name a few. The combination of these circumstances leads to many emotions. Our United Methodist appointment process is like no other mainline denomination.
What I have come to learn and have experienced is that the Holy Spirit is in this process. As unusual as it may seem, I have been so blessed by my appointment-making time both as a district superintendent and as a bishop. It is sacred work, and the South Georgia 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 how we will complete our work:
February 9-10: The Cabinet begins to make some appointment projections even though they may not be communicated out of the Cabinet immediately. For the past several years, we have used a helpful online appointment system/tool that has streamlined the process. As consultations take place, the district superintendent marks each pastor as “remain,” “must move,” “should move,” “could move,” or “retiring.” Approximately 75-80% of pastors will be marked “remain.”
February 23-24: Appointment making continues.
March 8-10: The Cabinet projects most of the appointments during these days.
Clergy and SPR Committees will begin to be informed of the appointments affecting them when it is appropriate. At the same time, they will be notified when they can share the information with the congregation. Once the congregation has been informed, the information can be shared with others. Please note: Because changes sometimes occur after the projection of an appointment, the only public release of the appointments will be at the conclusion of the 2023 Annual Conference Session.
March 28-29: The Cabinet meets to review all projected appointments and make any necessary adjustments.
March 29 - June 4: The Cabinet continues to work at filling part-time appointments and other situations that might arise as pastoral introductions are made.
TBA: All pastors who are moving or beginning a new appointment are required to attend a Moving Pastors Workshop, the details of which will be released soon. This workshop provides helpful information so all may have a successful start. Pastors receiving a new appointment will be contacted by the superintendent of the district they will be serving with additional details, including the location.
From June to September, churches receiving a new pastor will be invited to participate in a process called on-boarding to help the new pastor move into his/her new appointment. More information will be forthcoming.
As you see, the appointment process is the most important work we do as a Cabinet, and one that I want to live into God’s will. I feel it is important to be transparent to all our clergy and congregations. Please be mindful that as the bishop for both the Alabama-West Florida and South Georgia Conferences, I have two cabinets and two appointment processes to complete during the next three months.
I need and appreciate your prayers.
Bishop David Graves