February 22, 2015
Once again, the time has come for Califon United Methodist Church to experience a pastoral transition. Since our incorporation in 1877, we have had 46 pastors. That averages to about three years of service each. All served six or less years, with one pastor serving 14 years (from 1911-1925).
Pastor James has elected to seek a position with a congregation closer to his extended family in south Jersey after four years of service with Califon UMC. It was not an easy decision for him and his family. We will miss his scriptural expertise, his dedication and service, and his boyish humor.
We -- the SPRC and the church council -- are working with the Raritan Valley District Superintendent, Rev. Drew Dyson to outline Califon UMC's requirements for a new pastoral appointment. Rev. Dyson will meet with the bishop's cabinet this week to review our requirements with them. Bishop John Schol, of the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey, will examine the pool of available pastors and appoint a pastor to our congregation. After the new pastor is identified, the SPRC will attend a workshop (usually in early April) where we will meet our new pastor, and prepare a smooth transition. All pastors begin their appointments on the first of July. We will work hard to keep you informed of our activities.
The United Methodist Church appoints pastors using an itinerant system. Once a year as data is collected about the churches, a cabinet meets to analyze the pastoral appointments. Traditionally, pastors were assigned new churches -- sometimes several churches -- on an annual basis, and each pastor unquestioningly accepted their new appointments. Today, the goal is for a pastor to stay with a congregation for at least five years.
As Jesus said to his disciples, from John 15:16 ...
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, God may give it to you.
Please join me in sending our prayers, blessings and good wishes to James, Meredith and Sonja as they begin their new journey. Our own journey also begins as we prepare to welcome and nourish our new pastor and family. We are all travelling uncharted waters. But with planning and the grace of God, may we open our hearts, minds and doors to these new beginnings.
Best, Joyce Beck
Staff-Parish Relations Chair