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Leaders consider next steps in hiring new director

Leaders consider next steps in hiring new director

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Leaders consider next steps in hiring new director

Aug. 8, 2008  News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011  Orlando {0896}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

Delegates to the 2008 Florida Annual Conference took another step forward in support of Florida Conference congregations. They approved the recommendation to hire a director of African-American Congregational Development.

Now, conference leaders are deciding how to proceed in bringing that action to fruition.

The Rev. Dr. Walter Monroe shares with delegates attending the 2008 Annual Conference his team’s recommendation to hire a director of African-American Congregational Development. Photo by Caryl Kelley. Photo #08-0954. For longer description see photo gallery.

The recommendation to hire a director was made by the African-American Comprehensive Plan task team based on its review of the African-American Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted at the 2007 Annual Conference.

While the Rev. Dr. Walter Monroe, chairman of the task team and pastor of Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church in Daytona Beach, said he is pleased the measure passed, the process of hiring a director is in the infancy stage.

Delegates approved funding for and support of the new position, which will work in consultation with the conference’s director of Congregational Transformation to provide resources and development assistance for the conference’s African-American churches. Of the conference’s 722 churches, approximately 75 or 9.6 percent are African-American.

Monroe said the ability to hire a director is exciting.

“This is something we have longed for for so long,” he said. “We are indeed excited about the prospect of getting started. This is one step in the right direction. This was a vote of confidence by the delegates in approving this position.”

The Rev. Jeffrey Oglesby, pastor at Little Chapel-Santos United Methodist Church in Ocala and a member of the task team, agrees and said he is pleased the task team was able to accomplish its work and submit a recommendation that was approved.

“I think this is a good step,” he said. “It’ll give some additional conference attention to the African-American church. I think pastors need help in strengthening the African-American church.”

With the recommendation’s approval, Monroe said the work of the task team is done.

“We are just trying to pull together where do we go from here,” he said. “We are now getting started on the specific details of the position.”

Oglesby said he hopes the position will bring new resources to assist the African-American church in remaining vital.

“I think this position will be critical in bringing everything together for the African-American church and bring about some much needed change,” he said. “I know it will take some time and be a work in progress.”

While specific details of the position have yet to be decided, Monroe said one of the responsibilities of the director will be to work in consultation with pastors and key lay leaders in reaching out to younger disciples. The director will also partner with existing African-American clergy to improve both their faithfulness and fruitfulness as pastoral leaders, as well as assist in identifying and cultivating African-American pastoral leadership and new faith communities.

“The next phase,” Monroe said, “is organizing a steering committee to work more on the mechanics of the position that will be advertised.”

Monroe said there is much to be done before specifics about the position and a job description can be shared, but he is hopeful the position can be filled by January 2009.

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*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a freelance writer based in Seffner, Fla.