by Rev. Wayne Wiatt, Lead Pastor
Why do UMC pastors move/get new appointments?
A little thing called itinerancy. The United Methodist Church has a unique tradition of assigning clergy to churches. Ordained elders must be willing to go where they are sent. The itinerancy system means every pastor has a church, and every church has a pastor. In some cases, larger churches have more than one pastor, and pastors of smaller congregations may serve two or more churches. Some pastors serve in positions outside the local church such as in church agencies, institutions, and specialized ministries.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, began the itinerant system in England. Wesley developed circuits for his assistants to travel, each of which included a large number of congregations when there were just a few pastors and many communities and congregations. Preachers visited these appointments about once a month and changed circuits from year to year, depending on the circumstances.
John Wesley stated that by long and consistent experience, a change of preachers is best. “This preacher has one talent, that (has) another; no one whom I ever yet knew has all the talents which are needful for beginning, continuing, and perfecting the work of grace in a whole congregation.” (From Kathy Gilbert, UMNS)
Are you moving, being assigned a new appointment, or retiring? What will you be doing?
Ramona and I are staying put in Tallahassee and will continue to live in our “forever” home on Lake Talquin. When we moved to Tallahassee six years ago, we were able to remodel our family lake home and expand it to allow for comfortable visits from children and grandchildren, as well as entertaining church members and friends. (We plan to host another Creation Care kayak gathering sometime this year!)
I have been assigned by Bishop Ken Carter, resident bishop for the Florida Conference, to continue full-time as the district superintendent of the North West District (Apalachicola to Alachua). My job will be to oversee the 84 congregations and their pastors in our district. I have been doing this for the past three years in a hybrid role as both lead pastor of Trinity and district superintendent. With the potential changes in the United Methodist Church at the next General Conference in 2024, I will be spending a great deal of time with local churches and pastors as they discern their future.
Will you still be around?
Though much of my duties as a district superintendent will be to travel across the district, I will certainly be around! We love Tallahassee and the surrounding area. Our plans in a year are to do more traveling and explore the “Forgotten Coast” with a little more attention to detail. I look forward to hiking, biking, and kayaking the St. Mark Wildlife Refuge and many of the surrounding State Parks. We have a National Park Pass and actually got to use it last month while visiting Williamsburg and Jamestown, VA!
My plans are to retire at Annual Conference in June of 2023. As a celebration of that retirement, my final act of ministry will be to lead a trip to Greece on October 7-18 to trace the journey of Paul in Greece.
After catching up on my dock time and “remembering how to fly fish,” we hope to spend a great deal of time with our children and grandchildren doing “activities” as our grandchildren lovingly call them! It’s hard to believe that on my last Sunday at Trinity, June 26th at the 11 a.m. Service and the picnic to follow, I will celebrate 50 years of ministry (40 Ordained) in the United Methodist Church. It’s been a great ride! I look forward to seeing you on my last Sunday at Trinity on Sunday, June 26th. We’ll be having only one service of worship that Sunday at 11 a.m. followed by a covered dish picnic in Moor Hall with overflow into the garden. RSVP here.