During the Wisconsin Annual Conference Plenary session on Sunday, June 22, Steve Polster, convener of the Restructuring Task Force, presented a redistricting proposal, which revamps our current eight districts into five new districts and adds one additional district superintendent for a total of five. The recommendation was as a result of a study conducted by the Restructuring Task Force to examine some options and assumptions regarding the work of superintending and the impact on congregations and clergy. Steve Polster explained that the desired outcomes of the proposal is a more effective congregation/clergy to superintendent ratio, increased opportunities for relationship building between congregation, clergy and Cabinet, and a positive impact on appointment making, leadership development, and effective starts to new appointments.

According to Polster, “There are not enough days in the year in the current structure of one superintendent supervising two districts, or if the current two districts were to be combined into one district, to effectively extend the office of Bishop. This is due to a combination of too much geography, too many responsibilities, difficulty focusing on what we want superintendents to do, and the increased vulnerability of our churches”.

Polster explained that if this plan is passed, the next year will entail a discussion and decisions of (1) a more equalized map of five districts, and (2) focus for the priorities of superintending. He said that these new districts and additional District Superintendent would be implemented July 1, 2015. The funding for the new District Superintendent and related administrative costs for 2015 will add $90,000 to the 2015 Conference budget, he said.

He said that the task force compared superintending models across the North Central Jurisdiction. “With the desire to be good stewards of the financial resources of the congregations and Annual Conference in mind, the task force determined the Wisconsin Conference would be best suited by increased relationship and social capital between superintendents, clergy, and churches for appointment-making and supervision”, Polster said. Click here for more information.

An amended version of the Action Item was passed, eliminating the reference to the location of the 5th district office. In addition, a motion was passed to implement a process for reporting qualitative and quantitative outcomes of renewed and revitalized connectional life as a result of the new structure to the 2019 Annual Conference.