By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Sr. Communications Specialist
For the first time, the leadership of the Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church is sending daily reminders for prayers via email during the first week of April as they fully engage the process to appoint new clergy to area churches. This time of transition has been called one of the most difficult periods of United Methodist ministry, as congregations prepare to say goodbye to pastors and welcome their successors.
The director of ministerial services for the Mississippi Annual Conference, Rev. Jimmy Carr, agrees the procedure can be emotional but it is a time to celebrate the ministry of those coming and going. For this reason, The United Methodist Church General Board of Discipleship is offering a free webinar to assist local congregations on the topic: "The Pastor's Moving." On April 11, 6:30 p.m., (CDT) those participating in this one hour online course will learn practical steps for saying farewell and greeting new pastors, plus receive clarification about the role that the pastor, district superintendent, bishop and the congregation have in this process.
Carr is urging local church leaders, like a member of the Pastor/Parish Relations Committee (PPRC) to register for the course. Part of the committee's responsibility is to make certain pastors and their families have a meaningful closure and start at the local church.
"The webinar is the perfect opportunity for those who will be receiving new leaders and leaving ministries to learn new ideas and best practices. Churches should be open to new ideas and should not become complacent with what has been done in past experiences," said Carr.
Jackson resident, Cheryl Haynes who is a member of Middlebrook United Methodist Church was once the chair of the church's PPRC. She also held the position at Aldersgate United Methodist Church where she used to attend. Between the two churches she said she has helped in the transition of five pastors over nine years. "I think the webinar will be a great tool in aiding churches' transition between pastors. It appears that everything will be there to support the churches," said Haynes who added that she would have welcomed the opportunity to participate in the webinar if it were available during her time of service.
To register and for more information about the free webinar, follow this link: The Pastor's Moving--the SPRC Role or contact Betsey Heavner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-340-7295.