Bishop picks pair to fill Cabinet spots


By Woody Woodrick
Advocate Editor

How does one go from pastoral ministry to a more administrative bent as a district superintendent?

That’s a question the Rev. Geoffrey Joyner says he can’t answer now, but ask again in a few months.

“Friends who have already been in the role of district superintendent tell me it’s impossible to understand the different demands of the job until I do it,” said Joyner, who was appointed by Bishop Hope Morgan Ward on March 8 to serve the Tupelo District. 

In addition, the Rev. Henderson Rasberry was appointed to the West Jackson District. Joyner follows the Rev. Carl Grubbs, and Rasberry will replace the Rev. Willis Britt. Grubbs and Britt have applied for retired status in the Mississippi Conference. The appointments are effective July 1.

“I give thanks for the experience, vision, integrity and missional energy Geoffrey and Henderson bring to the work of the Cabinet,” Ward said.

“The Cabinet continues to focus our work on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world as we reach out together to more people, more younger people and more diverse people,” she said. “In addition, we keep before us at all times these missional priorities: Development of spiritual leadership, new places for new people, engaging ministry with the poor and global health and wellness.”

While the job of district superintendent carries some uncertainty, Joyner said he had some good examples to follow.

“I have been blessed to have served in districts with very effective superintendents. They were servant-leaders,” said Joyner, who currently serves Vicksburg Crawford Street UMC. “They all had different strengths but shared a love for our church and a deep commitment to Jesus Christ. I envision the role of a district superintendent to be that of a servant-leader.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to serve the people of the Tupelo District.”

Rasberry, in contrast, has already served as a district superintendent. He led the East Jackson District from 1996-2001.

“I hope the experience of those five years help me a great deal as I begin a new tenure,” Rasberry said. “The dynamics will be very similar, and I hope to use that experience in a good way.”

Rasberry currently serves Madison United Methodist Church, where he has been since coming off the Cabinet. He previously served the Barlow Charge, Caswell Springs, Pascagoula Eastlawn, Jackson Leavell Woods and Clinton First UMC.

A graduate of Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Joyner has served at Crawford Street since 2000. Previous appointments include the Sandersville-Glade Charge, West Laurel-Gitano Charge, Purvis-Talowah and Jackson Broadmeadow.

Rasberry said he and all members of the Cabinet face unique challenges during the current economic climate.

“I believe for all of us together the greatest challenge is to continue to be faithful and be very sure we’re able to see and hear what God is doing,” he said. “We want to join in the abundance that God offers to us every day. It may look and feel different, but it’s there; we just have to discover it and work with it.