Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a letter from Bishop Ken Carter and the Florida Annual Conference Cabinet regarding reducing the number of districts from 9 to 8. It was first published in its entirety in February 2017.
Click here for a list of churches organized by the proposed eight districts.
In the fall of 2016, the Cabinet and Strategic Leadership Team held its first meeting of the new quadrennium. We also toured the Conference as part of the Town Hall events. Around the same time, Dr. Walter Monroe, District Superintendent of the South Central District, informed us that he would be retiring at the end of this Conference year after a life of profound ministry as a pastor, university chaplain, professor and administrator.
The retirement of a District Superintendent was one impetus for us to explore how the Florida Conference has changed since we reduced from 14 Districts to 9 Districts eleven years ago. We discovered that we have closed 93 churches in eleven years. This is more than the number of churches in any one of our Districts. There has been an equal reduction in the number of full-time elder placements and, for various reasons, several more churches have lowered their clergy salary. The Book of Discipline (415.4) gives the Bishop the responsibility to “form the districts after consultation with the district superintendents and after the number of the same has been determined by vote of the annual conference.”
In response to the reduction of churches over the past 11 years, combined with a desire to reset the economic base of the Florida Annual Conference, the Cabinet, in consultation with other Conference leaders, is recommending a reduction in the number of Districts in the Florida Annual Conference from nine to eight. This motion regarding the number of Districts will be made during the opening plenary session of the 2017 Annual Conference.
It is our prayer and hope that this reduction of one district will be one piece of a continued journey of examining the sustainability of our Annual Conference budget, as well as continuing to redirect the flow of resources to the Local Church and support the vital ministries that take place at the Conference level such as Campus Ministry, Camps and Retreats, Missional Engagement and more.
Unlike the previous alignment from 14 to 9 Districts, this reduction does not impact every church. Most Districts will have fewer total churches than they did when we reduced from 14 to 9.
If you have questions about this proposal, please direct them to your District Superintendent or to the Episcopal Office.