Bishop Frank Beard fixed the appointments this past Saturday and Pastor Randy has been reappointed to Calvary UMC. This will begin his 6th year appointed to Calvary.
Several people have inquired about an Associate Pastor position at the church in light of Debbie Reese’s retirement. There have been many hours of prayer and discernment given to this matter by the SPRC, the Managing Directors, and Pastor Randy.
Our first priority is to the mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Considerations about the missional needs we have and how we best meet those needs have driven our thoughts. Below are several considerations the SPRC, Managing Directors, and Pastor Randy have been in dialogue about over the past few months:
The Strategic Leadership Team will share their work with the church on June 23 in worship and through the bulletin and email news the same week. They have identified 3 goals that will set the course for ministry over the next several years. The question then becomes, “how can those goals be accomplished in the best way possible.” What gifts are needed (from both staff and laity) to address those goals.
The continuing conversation in the denomination around LGBTQ inclusivity is an ongoing issue for our congregation here at Calvary. What will happen at next year’s general conference? What changes, if any, will happen? Where will this leave Calvary in terms of leadership? How will this impact our resources for ministry?
Do we need help in a full-time way or can part time, specific areas of giftedness help us the most? The District Superintendent will certainly listen to the needs of Calvary as presented by the SPRC and Pastor and share that with the Cabinet and the Bishop, but gifts specific to our need may not be available in one person at the time appointments are made. The person appointed, while gifted and grace filled, may not meet the leadership needs we have here at Calvary.
We need to consider financial responsibility in conjunction with appointed clergy. A full-time appointed clergy person bears the financial cost of not only salary, but a housing allowance, increased insurance costs, and increased pension costs in addition to salary. Because of our tenuous situation as a denomination (see #2 above), the time might not be right for such a deep investment (both on our part and on the part of a clergy person stepping into such a financially fragile role).
We recognize that Randy and Debbie had different preaching styles, different gifts, and more combined hours to offer in ministry. We acknowledge that with Debbie’s retirement, things are different. Randy has asked Michael Pitzer to preach about every six weeks. Other preachers will share their gifts from time to time as well (Lori Bultemeier, Ray Owens, etc.). A variety of preaching helps us hear the gospel from different perspectives and different voices. Al Behrens continues to take leadership with the Outreach portion of Calvary’s ministry – one of Debbie’s areas of work before her retirement.
Having said all of this, we believe that waiting on the Lord at this moment in time and not requesting an Associate Pastor from the Annual Conference would be prudent. We need time to look at every aspect of ministry – what is done, who does it, how it is done, etc. This assessment deserves much consideration and is a priority for both the Managing Directors and the SPRC. Since Debbie’s retirement, Randy has been asking the question “what are we missing.” As we move forward together in 2019, we seek to answer that question so we can equip Calvary to be the light of Jesus Christ in Bloomington-Normal, across the country, and around the world.