A time of transition (July 20, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

A time of transition

July 20, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
mwacht@flumc.org     Orlando  {0115}

NOTE:  A headshot of Whitaker is available at http://www.flumc.info/photo_gallery2.shtml.

An e-Review Commentary
By Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker**

During the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event June 3-6, 2004, a new structure for districts was authorized. Beginning in July 2005 there will be nine districts in the Florida Conference. Each district will have the same basic organization with a Leadership Council as the primary group for ordering the ministry of the district.

The time between July 2004 and July 2005 will be a period of transition from the present structure to the new structure. At a Florida Conference Cabinet meeting June 23-24, 2004, several major decisions were made in order to begin the transition to the new structure. I announced the appointment of the superintendents to the new districts (and I made this information public in a press release July 6, 2004). After consultation with the superintendents and some revision of the plan presented to the 2004 Florida Annual Conference, I set the boundaries of the new districts. The cabinet approved a set of policies to guide and govern the superintendents during this year of transition.

Since it is now known who will be the superintendents of the new districts, all of the superintendents can begin the work of implementing plans to get ready for the new district structure. The superintendents will work closely together to enable the superintendents of the new districts to become acquainted with all parts of their districts. They will bring together a nominating group with appropriate representation from districts to nominate provisional members of the leadership council of each new district to be elected at regional gatherings by Nov. 30, 2004. Plans will be developed in conjunction with Dr. Ransom Casey-Rutland, office of the treasurer, for doing the necessary legal work.

A period of years will be permitted to develop plans for the location of the offices and parsonages of the new districts. The superintendents will itinerate across their districts to hold meetings and to get to know the congregations and leaders in their districts so that those who do not live in proximity to the district office will be aware of the accessibility of their superintendent.

While there will be a lot of necessary tasks during this time of transition, the members of the cabinet and I are confident we shall be ready in July 2005 to implement the new district structure and begin the really important work of building the horizontal connection among congregations and clergy and strengthening the mission of The United Methodist Church in Florida.


This commentary relates to Conference Transformation and Connectionalism.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Whitaker is bishop of the Florida Annual Conference.

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