In June, the Annual Conference approved the creation of five districts and five district superintendents. Since that time, a task force named by me worked on a five district model, seeking input and feedback from a variety of people and leadership groups in the Conference. I am thankful for the work of the task force, and for all those who participated in the process.
This past week, the Cabinet and I, after prayer and discernment, completed the plan that I share with you today.
Starting in July of 2015, the five new districts will be named North West, North Central, North East, South West, and South East (See map in color and black/white). The five districts are divided along county lines, except in a few instances where charges/parishes cross county borders (See lists by district and church).
The five District Superintendents will be located in Eau Claire (North West), Wausau (North Central), Appleton (North East), Sun Prairie (South West), and Milwaukee (South East). For the first year, both the North West District and the North Central District offices will be located in current Eau Claire office space. Locations of all the district offices are under review by the Cabinet for possible relocation in 2015 or 2016.
In Advent, we anticipate and find profound joy. The Advent season is an invitation to make time to reflect, to recount again the ancient story, to remember again why the Christ Child came to the world. This season is our opportunity again to discover anew the deep meaning of “God-be-with-us.”
When we light the Advent candles, we engage the mystery of light from darkness, life from death. And, if we allow, our worship and our lives are transformed. We are moved from focus on just ourselves and our interest to extending the hope and joy of “God-be-with-us” to our neighbors.
For some of us, 2014 has been a time of walking through dark nights, and wrestling with God for power and hope. Some continue to feel overwhelmed and beaten down, depressed, and disempowered. While others have experienced unexpected help and assurance that, always in the end, light wins over darkness and God brings strength to the brokenhearted. Like me, I hope that you have experienced meaning and joy in your life, even in the most difficult days.
Once again, we proclaim that no matter what happens, or how difficult life struggles are, the Christ Child is with us and seeks to bring salvation and new beginnings to us and to the world. Advent is our chance once again to tell the story of Jesus Christ coming to the world with passion and newness.