Just Thinking... It's That Time of Year

Dana Everhart


It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the SPRC not telling
And everyone asking you "What do you hear?"
It's the most wonderful time of the year
It's the anx- anxious season of all
With those "where are you going" greetings and happy cabinet meetings
When gossip starts to fall
It's the anx - anxious season of all

And thus, it begins. Yes, on March 1st the Cabinet will begin our first cloister for prayer and discernment regarding the 2016/2017 Appointments for North Georgia. We will be meeting from Tuesday to Thursday to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to understand the needs of both clergy and church.

I cannot count the number of times people have asked me: "What do you know?", "Who is retiring?", "Are you moving?", "Who is going to be our bishop?", and "What do you think about Pastor X going to Church Y?" This is both good and difficult to be sure. I am thrilled we do not live back in the age where you were in fear of the District Superintendent and would never dare to ask such questions. I am most thankful that you see me (or the person who holds this office) as one of you and that you feel comfortable enough to talk to me about this most anxious part of our shared ministry. It is difficult, because I cannot answer the questions being asked, not because I can't or don't want to, but because the answer to the first question is, "I
don't know a whole lot." We have not yet begun the process because, believe it or not, we have a great many other ministry opportunities happening in our Annual Conference that must be discussed and worked with before we begin this time. 

I promise you that we are filled with the same anxiousness that you feel as clergy (and laity who may be reading this article). We desire to do our best for every clergyperson and every congregation in North Georgia. We do not throw darts, draw straws, make trades, or anything that the Cabinet has been portrayed to be doing when we make appointments. We spend a great amount of time in consultation with pastors, with Staff Parish Relations Committees, and in prayer and discussion with the other Superintendents. We are not men or women who lack of faith but, in all honesty, we are anxious, too. We want to make sure we do not mess up lives and congregations; we long to do the will of God and the best for North Georgia. We are not fat and happy cats in our big offices, but rather we are your sisters and brothers who have been tasked for a time such as this. We care about the United Methodist Church and the Kingdom of God.

So when I don't answer, I'm not being cagey; I'm honoring the process, and I commit all your conversations to heart and mind. Continue to share your thoughts, and continue to pray for us all this season. As you hear or think of great possible appointments, let me know ... it might work, and I will give you the credit. Also, pray, yes pray, for each name that you hear is moving or retiring. Pray for each church you hear will be getting a new pastor. Pray that we will honor the process and trust the Holy Spirit to work. This is a lot better than just talking about it around the conference. Speak love and support to all about this most wonderful season of the year that, in the midst of all that is going on, God is still God and God will never fail God's Church, even the North Georgia Annual Conference.
It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much praying
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones who speak love and faith are near
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
(Apologies to Edward Pola and George Wyle)
Together we serve and move in Christ,

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