RE-DISTRICTING FOR 2024
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” - Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
God is doing a new thing in the East Ohio Conference and preparing a way for new vitality within our structures and local churches and making provision for a future with hope.
During the 2023 East Ohio Annual Conference members made a courageous and faithful decision, voting to transition from 10 districts to four, effective January 1, 2024. The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church gives the Annual Conference the responsibility for determining the number of districts and gives the bishop and Cabinet the responsibility to draw the district boundaries. The Cabinet and I spent three days in retreat and have done the intentional work of remapping the district boundaries.
We continue to be confident that by reducing the number of districts, remapping the areas of each district, creating a new district leadership structure, and deploying superintendency teams to each district, we will strengthen, support and further the resourcing of pastors, local churches, and faith communities. This restructuring of the districts will also help us provide greater stewardship and alignment of resources. Having four districts instead of 10 will allow for us to re-direct more attention to the local church, provide greater flexibility with resources, generate more opportunity for creative ministries and the possibility for starting fresh expressions and new faith communities.
Each district is an extension of the East Ohio Conference and will have as its mission to provide 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 strengthening the connection to the East Ohio Conference. Each district is an integral part of the East Ohio Conference structure and will continue to serve the purpose of connecting, resourcing, and equipping pastors, congregations, and faith communities in the fulfillment of our mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”.
There is still more work to be done. On October 25, I will announce the assignments of the current superintendents, and they will begin ministry in the new districts January 1, 2024. In January, the superintendents will plan a gathering in the new districts for a time of worship, connection, and celebration.
In the next few months, there will be more information forthcoming about district structure, leadership, office locations, staffing, and more. To help shepherd this important missional work in transitioning from 10 districts to four, I have formed a re-districting administrative team consisting of the executive directors of Connectional Ministries, Communications, and Financial & Administrative Services, chairpersons of the Board of Trustees and the Conference Council on Finance & Administration, the Conference chancellor, and the executive assistant to the bishop. We will be engaging ministry leaders in the East Ohio Conference to help shape the structure and leadership teams of the districts.
This is a time of remarkable opportunity! I invite us all to be in prayer together as we live into this new and exciting way of being connected in ministry and mission together. I encourage us to be open to how the spirit of God is moving among us as we think anew and afresh about how we will continue to live into our shared vision of equipping and resourcing every pastor, local church, and faith community in the East Ohio Conference as we each grow in our capacities to be disciples, to make disciples, and to mature disciples of Jesus Christ; to be agents of God’s healing, hope and transformation in our communities and throughout the world; and to reach new people, younger people, and a more diverse people.
Your Partner in Ministry,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
You are invited to submit names for the new districts for Conference leadership to consider. As you pray and consider the new movement in Christ in the East Ohio Conference, you are encouraged to dream and imagine new district names:
Proposed district names that emphasize the mission and ministries of the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church should be submitted to Executive Director of Communications Rick Wolcott via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, October 6. The submitted names will be shared with the bishop and Cabinet.
New district boundaries were created with a focus on mission. In most cases, all East Ohio Conference churches in a county are in the same district. But in a few cases, because of mission, a church in one county has been placed into the district of a neighboring county.
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
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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