“So, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation ...” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NRSV)
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!
It gives me joy to share that the creative regional superintendency models piloted in the Ohio Valley District and the Firelands District in July 2022 are structural, strategic, and missional successes in equipping and supporting pastors, congregations, and faith communities in our mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
In consideration of the new ministry appointment of Rev. Abby Auman, I will implement another regional superintendency plan in the Mahoning Valley District. Effective July 1 the 10 districts of the East Ohio Conference will be served by seven district superintendents.
Rev. Angela Lewis, superintendent of the Canal District, and Rev. Cara Stultz Costello, superintendent of the Tuscarawas District, will expand their leadership to serve as co-superintendents of the Mahoning Valley District while continuing to serve in their current respective districts. I have consulted with the district superintendents and superintendency committees who will be affected in the new configuration, and I am thankful for their support of this strategic leadership plan.
In addition to piloting new regional district superintendency models last fall I also formed a District Realignment/Restructure Task Force to assist me and my Cabinet in assessing and exploring current and ongoing needs, realities, and missional opportunities across the East Ohio Conference. I want to reassure you that districts will continue to serve as a primary structure for connecting and equipping pastors, congregations, and faith communities in the fulfillment of our shared East Ohio Conference mission and vision. Districts will continue to be a community, for clergy and laity, with a continued focus on increasing the capacity for disciple-making, reaching new people, leadership development, mission, social witness, and connection to the East Ohio Conference.
A report on proposed structural changes will be printed in the Pre-Conference Workbook and will be presented to the Annual Conference in June. The report will include a recommendation from me and my Cabinet regarding a change to our current regional structure, a reduction in the number of districts, and a timeline for such changes.
We are confident that the proposed missional, strategic changes will better position the Conference as we continue to be faithful stewards of our mission and our resources even as we face current post-pandemic realities, the declining membership and financial trends of some of our churches, and the disaffiliation of some of our local churches.
Beloved, God makes all things new! Let us not dwell on the past but embrace God’s possibilities! Let us stay focused on being disciples, making disciples, and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ … being God’s agents of healing, hope, and transformation in our communities and throughout the world … and reaching new people, younger people and a more diverse people!
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
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