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Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference,

Grace and peace to you in the name and spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I am writing to share news with you of a decision I have made regarding the appointment of the District Superintendent for the East District of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church. Through prayerful discernment, I have determined that the gifts and skills of Rev. Melissa Rynders are needed for the position of District Superintendent for the East District of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church. It is my intention to appoint Rev. Rynders to this position as of July 1, 2022.

Rev. Rynders is currently appointed to Catalina UMC in the South District. Over the past year during her time at Catalina, she has quickly became a part of the Catalina church family and led the congregation with a deep spirituality and a positive spirit. She has helped the church meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating a pastor’s heart in her care for the congregation, and has led difficult conversations with grace while effectively helping people with different opinions feel heard and valued.

At the same time, Melissa has been serving as a respected leader at the District and Conference levels, most recently chairing the work of the Board of Ordained Ministry and leading a new task force charged with the responsibility of forming a positive and healthy conference culture. As your bishop, I have come to know Melissa’s commitment to building vitality at Catalina, in the Desert Southwest Conference, and throughout The United Methodist Church.

As has been our practice, Rev. Rynders will spend the next few months continuing her pastoral leadership at Catalina UMC and becoming acquainted with her new role by meeting with the cabinets. Let us include in our prayers, Rev. Melissa Rynders, her spouse, Rev. Rob Rynders, and their family, as well as the congregation of Catalina UMC, and their colleagues and friends who surround them with love and encouragement in this time of transition.

Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant Hagiya

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