Transition Team Meets in September
The South Georgia Annual Conference's Transition Team met Sept. 9-10, 2013, to continue discussing and planning the Conference's reduction from nine to six districts. Members of the Transition Team deliberated for a full day then spent the following day engaged in a two hour listening session with the Extended Cabinet.
Bishop James King and Gloria Morgan, Conference Lay Leader, co-chair the Transition Team.
“We are still in the early stages of forming six districts,” said Bishop King. “The immediate goal is to encourage the sharing of ideas and thoughts from across the conference as part of the forming process.”
The questions and concerns that have been shared thus far are very telling, he says.
There is sincere concern to have more timelines regarding structure and property. There is also concern being expressed regarding appointments and jobs. Several clergy and laity are concerned that new district lines will isolate congregations from one another.
“We are hearing legitimate concerns, questions, and ideas,” said Bishop King. “This listening time is part of a healthy and natural process as we Rethink, Revisit, and Revise the structure and strategy of our annual conference.
“One thing is clear to me: the kingdom of God will not be enhanced by drawing district lines in a new direction. What do you think is really going to make a difference?”
The Transition Team encourages both laity and clergy to keep their ideas, concerns, and prayers flowing.
"During this transition it is important for everyone to remember that our main focus as United Methodists is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” said Gloria Morgan. ‘I am very pleased with how the Transition Team is working together to receive input through initial listening sessions. The feedback will help to keep the Transition Team aware of comments, questions, and concerns as we move forward."
Ideas and concerns can be shared with the Transition Team through the feedback form located in the Transition Update section.
The Transition Team provided a report to the Extended Cabinet addressing the following:
Discipleship and Vision – We all have a common mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As we move through transition, the Transition Team recommends that all six districts focus on the theme “Discipleship and Vision.” Districts will be encouraged to creatively celebrate their new identity while keeping the primary focus on discipleship and vision.
Finance and Property – The Transition Team affirmed the standardization of district budgets utilizing a district decimal. Bishop King affirmed the need for property discussions to begin in the summer of 2014 and beyond. However, the date of January 1, 2015 remains a target date for action to be taken regarding property.
Nominations and Leadership – The Transition Team will be reviewing the leadership structure for the current nine districts. The process of nominations and leadership is currently under review.
Enhanced Technology Team – A report from the Enhanced Technology Team discussed the need to complete an audit of the district offices. The audits will include a survey, inventory of hardware/software, and site visits. This information will be compiled and used to develop a strategic plan of enhanced technology for six districts. District audits will be complete by November 2013.
Listening sessions will continue to be a part of the process as the Transition Team moves forward. As the Transition Team progresses in their discussions, the following four dates continue to represent key transition times for the Conference:
June 1, 2014: Executive Transition Team Report to 2014 South Georgia Annual Conference
June 2014: New District Leadership set
Jan. 1, 2015: Projected date for conference and district budgets to be aligned with the six district conference model.
Jan.1, 2015: District property issues such as parsonages will be addressed by district leadership and will be ongoing until resolved
The next meeting of the Executive Transition Team will be Oct. 22.
As the South Georgia Conference continues the work of transition, clergy and laity are encouraged to pray for the transition and refer to the conference website for updates from Bishop King and the Transition Team. Questions and comments can be shared under the Transition Update on the conference website.
“We have entered a new season,” Bishop King said. “Now is the season to Rethink, Revisit, and Revise!”