By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor
The Virginia Conference lists 1,025 clergy under appointment full and part time. Together we serve the 1,200 churches throughout the state. On Wednesday, June 26, 57 clergy and their families will load all their personal belongings into a moving van and travel to their next pastoral appointment. Some will travel to large multi-staff church communities, others to rural congregations; all go in hopes of joining Christ in faithful ministry. Thirty-three of our clergy will try to adjust to being retired and will feel a bit strange when Sunday rolls around and they find out what life is like in the pews … again.
A typical year in the Virginia Conference sees from 25% to 30% of our clergy relocate to new assignments. This year only 5% of our clergy will take a new posting. On the average, congregations in our conference adjust to new clergy in the pulpit every three years. National studies compiled by various church institutes assert that the most effective years of pastoral leadership occur after year ten. Sadly, the marriage of most clergy and their congregations doesn’t last long enough to experience the benefits of long-term committed relationship and shared ministry through discipleship.
On Sunday, July 7, ten new pastors to the Arlington District will arrive in their churches prepared to work at making disciples for Jesus Christ. Those ten churches will swell in attendance as active and inactive members turn out to check out the new pastor. The Rev. Cathy Abbott will retire as District Superintendent of the Arlington District. Our new superintendent of Arlington will be the Rev. Sarah Calvert.
Trinity is proud to announce that Nila Curry graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in May and will be living in Maryland. Nila has lived at Trinity House while at WTS.
On another joyous note: Keith Lee, Eileen Gilmer and I return to Trinity as your pastors. I am very glad that Keith and Eileen are my colleagues in pastoral ministry at Trinity, along with Michelle, Jerry, Harriet, Jose, our lay leader Peggy Fox, and of course, all of you. We make a great team. All of us are here to make disciples for Jesus Christ.