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As the Bishop and Appointive Cabinet for the Desert Southwest Conference prepare of the appointment year 2022, the Cabinet has agreed to use a practice that Bishop Grant has used for most of his episcopal career.  This is the practice of posting clear opening of churches so that clergy are able to put their names forward if they are interested in a church on the clear openings listing.  It is our prayer that people experience a stronger sense of transparency and collaboration in the appointment process.

This is how it works:

    • Listing of Clear Openings:
        1. Churches in need of a new pastor through a retirement, ending of an interim period, or change in appointment status will be listed as a clear opening.
        2. The listing includes a brief descriptions of the churches’ ministry settings. Specific statistics about a church and community are available through the Annual Conference Journal and MissionInsite. You may obtain MissionInsite data either through the Director of New & Vital Faith, Rev. David McPherson – or your District Superintendent:
        3. This initial list of clear openings will be posted one time. There will be no additional postings as subsequent openings are created due to appointment changes.
        • Process for Clergy Inquiry:
          1. Clergy members who feel called by God to put their names forward for a specific opening are to contact both their current District Superintendent and the District Superintendent who oversees the church where the opening has occurred. Notification to both Superintendent is required.
          2. Clergy putting their names forward are to enter into a time of deep and prayerful discernment before contacting the District Superintendents. A clergy person should only take part in the process after a careful consideration of where God is leading to consider and be affirmed by God that this is both realistic and a true calling.
          3. Clergy are to send a statement to the Superintendent of the open church sharing why they feel called to the appointment and what experience, gifts, and skills they have that are needed by the church.
          4. Strict confidentiality will be practiced. Pastors who are considering to put their names forward as an inquiry are not to contact their own local churches, nor the pastors or laity of the churches in which they have interest, as this has the potential to harm current church appointments. The Cabinet will hold all inquiries in confidence and will not release any information regarding those who put their names forward.
          5. The Bishop and Cabinet will deeply discern the gifts and graces of the clergy members putting their names forward, and the needs of the mission fields and the local churches. There is absolutely no guarantee that an inquiring clergy member will be selected for an appointment based solely on the request,but we are committed to making appointments based on the match between what is needed in the local communities and churches, and the gifts and skill sets of the potential pastors. 

         

        • Value Priorities in Appointment Making: The philosophy of appointments in the Desert Southwest Conference as used by the Bishop, Cabinet, Clergy, and Local Church Leadership follows a strict value system that is based on the following diagram:
          1. Our first consideration is the Will of God, so we seek to discern what God wishes for every appointment. This means we are in deep prayer and discernment over every appointment.
          2. Our second level of priority is the Kin-dom of God through the surrounding mission field and neighborhood where the church is located. Clergy appointments are made to the mission field as much as to the local church, as John Wesley advocated for, and as practiced in early Methodism.
          3. Our third priority is the local church and the laity, as they are the heart and soul of every single appointment.
          4. Our fourth priority is the clergy themselves. As we practice servant leadership, we acknowledge that we are called to serve and not be served.
          5. The lowest priority is the Annual Conference, Bishop and Cabinet, as we exemplify what it means to serve.

        • Expectations: As mentioned earlier, the Cabinet will be in prayer to deeply discern the match between the mission field, the local church and the gifts and graces of the pastor asked to serve.
          1. There is an expectation that the Cabinet will share with a pastor the complete rationale of why we believe the pastor is being matched with a particular church.
          2. There is also an expectation of an open itinerancy, and if a clergy person cannot move because of significant family issues, we will enter into a “Covenant of Limited Itineration,” whereby full-time appointment may not be possible, as we discern what is available in any given local area.

        We hope and pray that this way of appointment making will continue to be both liberating and helpful to our annual conference and God’s Kin-dom that we are pledged to serve.

        Be the Hope,

        Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
        Phoenix Area Resident Bishop
        The United Methodist Church

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