by Rev. Dan Morley, North District Superintendent
- University UMC welcomes Rev. Stephen Govett (and Kimber), who comes to us from Trinity UMC in Glendale, AZ. We give a thank you to Rev. Terri Hubbard who has entered retirement after serving at University these four years.
- Boulder City UMC welcomes Pastor Kimber Govett (and Stephen), who comes to us from Sunrise UMC in Phoenix, AZ. Rev. Jungrea Chung gave leadership to the church when Rev. Michael Eaton made an early move at the end of April to Payson UMC.
- Pahrump Valley UMC welcomes Rev. Judy Stallons (and Mark), retired clergy from Kentucky, and Phyllis Murray, recent District Lay Leader. This dynamic duo is partnering to bring leadership to Pahrump Valley following Pastor Lana Fong’s retirement and move to Nebraska.
- Trinity Heights UMC welcomes Rev. Court Fischer who reenters appointment following a year of leave. Rev. Lynn Bartlow has relocated to her new appointment of St Mark’s UMC in Tucson, AZ.
- First UMC of Winslow welcomes Erna Snukis, a Certified Lay Minister recently serving with Mohave Valley UMC. Rev. Cheryl Mothershed gives support from her charge in Holbrook. Rev. Ron Bartlow has relocated to his new appointment of St. Paul’s UMC in Tucson, AZ
- Page Community UMC welcomes Patrick McAvoy (and Pricilla), a Certified Lay Minister recently serving with Boulder City UMC. Pastor Linda Larsen has moved to her appointment of Wilcox UMC.
- St. Michael’s UMC welcomed Pastor Sandy Johnson back in April upon the completion of Rev. Lee Weber’s interim appointment.
- Las Vegas Korean UMC celebrated the retirement of Rev. Eun Jin La. As of July 1, Las Vegas Korean worship and ministry is suspended as the future of the church is being considered.
The United Methodist Church engages in the practice of itinerancy. It is a system of deploying clergy across a conference in order to assure each congregation has the needed pastoral leadership. As UMC.org states — “The changing of pastors brings different and often-needed gifts to the local church (1 Cor. 12:4). The changing of settings can keep a pastor refreshed. The missionary journeys of Paul are surely a reminder of that (for example, Acts 13:2-14:7; 15:36-18:22; 18:23-21:19).”
The United Methodist Church values the partnership of lay and clergy in ministry together. Our church is stronger when this partnership is nurtured and engaged. There are seasons in the history of the Methodist movement in which there has been an increase in the number of laity assigned to give leadership to our congregations. Such as the pioneering years of swift expansion of the church. Then in wartimes when clergy entered into service or other needed industry and many lay persons (especially women) accepted the charge of leadership. At other times, it has been due to more retirements than incoming newly ordained or licensed clergy. In this appointment year, we are thankful to our lay leadership who have willingly committed to this year of service.
The churches who are welcoming and encouraging our laity in leadership are to be commended. They will each experience blessings in their ministry together. The clergy who support our assigned laity are giving a service which will strengthen our connection and ministry together. We appreciate their leadership.
In The United Methodist Church, the ministry of laity is not strictly, or even fundamentally, based on lack of clergy to fill ministry roles, but is based on the scriptural precept that every member of the body is needed to increase the strength and vitality of the body of the church to function (Ephesians 4:4-16). John Wesley described the role of lay preaching as an “extra-ordinary call” (John Telford, ed. The Letters of the Rev. John Wesley, Vol. 5). Initially, Wesley was cautious of utilizing Lay Preachers, but then he witnessed their gifts of ministry and effectiveness.
Another perspective which laity bring to their role of leadership in the church is the very direct correlation and application with the average person’s work-a-day-world. Laity in the pulpit are relatable to laity in the pew. They are able to swiftly interpret biblical teaching for life-application in ways clergy can sometimes be distant. Lay women and men have a distinctive message to bring to our pulpits. As David Weber (Methodist theologian/historian) teaches, “Lay preaching does not rival or supplant the preaching of ordained clergy. Rather, it provides complementary insights and perspectives that ground the gospel in worldly living.”
Each of our LPAs (Lay Persons/Preachers/Pastors Assigned) to local churches has a clergy person to guide and support them. Our clergy bring years of service experience and the depth of biblical and theological training which helps our congregations to be shaped and true to our Christian Wesleyan heritage. Clergy have a key role of carrying forward the time-tested practices and values of the Christian faith as well as to challenge the errancies of the church as organization and system and even the occasional way the church-through-history has mis-interpreted passages of scripture.
Laity and clergy form a partnership in The United Methodist Church which gives us a unique synergistic dynamic and strength. All partnerships have challenges and require intentional effort to work in unity and common vision. Therefore, please be in prayer for our churches and new pastors and laity serving charges across our North District. More complete introductions of our new appointments/assignments will be included in future North District E-news.
Blessings in Christ,