After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborer are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. Luke 10:1-2
Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. Acts 8:14
There is a strong biblical history of God’s servants being sent to the places where God needed them to be in mission and ministry. The Methodist movement continued this tradition with John Wesley sending lay preachers to circuits in the countryside in England, rotating their appointment to the various circuits on a yearly basis. In this country Bishop Francis Asbury used the system of appointment to circuits in order to bring the Gospel to the frontier of America.
Today our itinerant system continues in this legacy of scripture and tradition. As United Methodists we believe that the itinerant system is the best way to fulfill the mission of God. The system allows local congregations and institutions to benefit from the gift set of particular persons during a particular season when those gifts are needed. It promotes the ongoing health and vitality of laity and lay led ministries. Further, it promotes a sense of connection across the denomination. Finally, it promotes diversity in pastoral leadership which can help to broaden perspectives and our understanding of God.
The Appointment Cabinet is in the midst of this historic and sacred process of making and fixing appointments in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference. At the start of the appointment season the Appointment Cabinet spent time identifying the values that would guide us as we do the work. We will value the following:
- Longer term vital appointments
- Matching gifts and evidence of God’s graces with opportunities for ministry
- Strategic appointments where there is potential for increased vitality
- Minimal family impact, particularly for clergy couples
- Open itineracy
In addition to these values, we have pledged to be more proactive when making cross-cultural and cross-racial appointments by providing training for pastors and congregations in preparation for such appointments and after such appointments are made. We are looking to make strategic alignments and strategic cooperative parishes. We do not want to simply make alignments to preserve a full-time appointment, but rather to encourage vital ministry. Finally, we will be more strategic in the use of **Equitable Compensation funds when making appointments.
We ask that as we do our work, you will keep us in prayer. Also, please pray for those pastors, clergy families, congregations, and communities who will be receiving new appointments.
Appointments changes, with brief biographical sketches and descriptions of the churches, will be posted on the Conference website after they are announced in the churches involved. To see newly announced appointments, visit wpaumc.org/appointmentbio.
**The Equitable Compensation Fund, secured as described in ¶¶ 614.1 e and 625.7 , shall be used to provide each pastor who receives less than the minimum base compensation with an additional amount sufficient to make the base compensation approved by the pastoral charge plus the supplemental aid or income from other sources equal to the minimum base compensation approved by the conference. An annual conference may set a maximum amount to be used in attaining such minimum base compensation in any given case, and it may set its own policy regarding the number of years for which a pastoral charge is eligible to receive equitable base compensation funds, provided that no member in good standing who is appointed to a pastoral charge is denied the minimum base compensation
( ¶ 342 ).