By Fred Koenig
Spring is in the air, and so are the announcements of clergy appointment changes. Changes in three cabinet-level positions were announced during the second week of March. The first change is by the book – the Book of Discipline. Rev. Bart Hildreth has completed eight years as District Superintendent, which is the maximum tenure allowed by the Book of Discipline.
“Bart has done excellent work, has contributed to the growth of our churches, acted as mentor and coach to countless pastors, planned and led high quality learning events for laity and clergy, and was instrumental in uniting the two Ozarks districts,” Bishop Schnase said. “His thoughtful and thorough work will be missed on the cabinet.”
Hildreth moving on meant that someone was needed to serve as Ozarks District Superintendent. That person will be Rev. Lynn Dyke, current Mid-State District Superintendent.
“Lynn has served four excellent years as District Superintendent of the Mid-State District in Columbia, and this relocation to Springfield allows her to work closer to her husband and family,” Bishop Schnase said. “Lynn brings to the new appointment her expertise as a superintendent, experience as a successful pastor of churches in the Ozarks District, service as chair of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration, and experience from serving on staff in other conference offices. We will miss her in the Mid-State District and in the conference office.”
Dyke was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved to Overland Park, Kan., with her family when she was in the seventh grade. There her family was active in a new church start, Indian Heights UMC. She attended Southwestern College, a United Methodist institution in Winfield, Kan., and majored in elementary education. After college she went to seminary at Iliff School of Theology In Denver. She was ordained elder in the Kansas East Conference in 1987. She started her ministry as an associate pastor, and was later appointed to Conference staff as Youth, Camping and Discipleship director for five years. She then moved to Seattle, and served in a similar Conference staff position for the Pacific Northwest Conference. She was then a pastor in the Arkansas Conference before moving to Missouri and being appointed first to Marshfield UMC, then Kimberling City UMC, both of which are in the Ozarks District. Dyke’s husband teaches at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield.
“I’ve loved the Mid-State District, and I’ve seen so many good things happen here, I will miss it, but it will be nice to be living in the same house as my husband again,” she said. Her son will also be close by, as he runs the 1,000 Hills golf shop in Branson.
As she goes to her new post this time, Dyke will be bringing four years of experience as a District Superintendent with her.
“I now understand the appointment system in a totally different way, and I view everything through that lens,” she said. She also said she is not often surprised by things anymore. “I’m taking a different sense of calm into the beginning of this appointment,” she said.
But if Dyke’s Ozark bound, who will be moving the Mid-State District Office? Here’s a clue:
she doesn’t have to go outside to move offices.
Rev. Sherry Habben, current Director of Connectional Ministries, will be the next Mid-State District Superintendent.“Sherry has done excellent work in connectional ministries, especially in coordinating annual conference sessions, supervising conference staff, and overseeing conference communications,” Bishop Schnase said. “Her participation for the last several years on the cabinet gives her experience and insight into the appointment process, and her knowledge of the Mid-State churches, laity, and clergy will benefit her leadership. We all look forward to working with Sherry in her new role.”
Habben grew up in the Kansas City area. She wasn’t raised in the church, but was brought in by her then 12-year-old son to St. Peter UMC in Blue Springs. After a time she found she had served on practically every committee, including serving as chair of the Pastor-Parish Relations committee and the Administrative Council.
“I realized I was no longer there just for my son,” she said.
She followed her call to ministry and went to Saint Paul School of Theology, where she earned a Masters of Divinity with a specialty in Christian education. She started out as an associate pastor of Red Bridge UMC in the Heartland District, then was senior pastor of North Spring UMC in the Heartland District, and next was associate pastor of Salem in Ladue UMC in the Gateway District. She was appointed as the Director of Connectional Ministries in 2008.
As Director of Connectional Ministries, Habben was responsible for the oversight of Annual Conference Session each year.
“I’ve had a great Annual Conference Sessions team and staff to work with,” she said. “We’ve moved to a more learning and leadership model for Annual Conference that has worked well. It’s been a joy to start the process over again each year, from the selection of theme and speakers to working through all of the details. It takes a lot of people to make Annual Conference happen. I enjoy the planning part, and being there to see it all unfold.”
As Director of Connectional Ministries, Habben was involved in many facets of the Conference, liaisoning with the Core Practices Team, Communications Commission, Rules and Procedures Committee, and Nominations Committee, as well as being on the cabinet and overseeing operations of the Conference as one of five Conference directors. Together with the Director of Financial and Administrative Ministries, she was responsible for the staffing the Conference Center, and responsible for oversight of the Safe Sanctuaries process. Habben also did most of the Days of Prayer and Repentance for the Healthy Church Initiative and the Small Church Initiative process. She’s looking forward to her new role as Mid-State District Superintendent. “It will be compelling to take a step back closer to the local church, and offer direct encouragement and support to them as a District Superintendent,” Habben said. “I want to be able to encourage pastors, laity and churches to be who God is calling them to be.”
Habben’s path from her office to being a District Superintendent is well worn. The previous Director of Connectional Ministries, Steve Cox, went from that position to Pony Express District Superintendent. His predecessor, Elmer Revelle, went from his position as DCM to being appointed Mid-State District Superintendent.
Habben’s transition means someone new needs to be the Director of Connectional Ministries. Rev. Kimberly Jenne, senior pastor of Webster Hills UMC, will be moving into that position.
“Kim brings outstanding leadership, supervision, and organizational skills to the work of Connectional Ministries,” said Missouri Bishop Robert Schnase. “We look forward to her service on the cabinet and her leadership in the conference office.”
Jenne grew up s in Coulterville, Ill., where she was a member of the Coulterville UMC. She went to college at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. While in college she attended Centenary, Grace and La Croix United Methodists Churches.
After college Jenne moved to St. Louis, where she worked for the Schupp Company, a marketing and advertising agency. She was attending Webster Hills UMC, and part of the team that launched The Gathering. At this time she was beginning to experience the call the ministry. Rev. Matt Miofsky, The Gathering’s pastor, shared that if she was considering going into ordained ministry, she might want to experience leadership at an established church, as it would be different than a new-church start. She ended up going to Grace UMC (St. Louis), where she worked in a part-time capacity at building relationships between the church and Washington University. In 2009, Jenne moved to Atlanta, where she attended Candler School of Theology seminary. She concluded this experience by spending a year in England.
There she lived in a Wesley House with other seminarians, where they experienced a daily cycle of praying, worshipping and eating together. “It was much more of a monastic community than a typical theological school,” she said.
Upon returning in 2012, Jenne was appointed to be senior pastor of Webster Hills UMC. The following year she became chair of the Missouri Conference Core Practices Team.
“It’s been a great fit around my passions and interests in discipleship and sharing best practices,” Jenne said. “We have a fantastic team that makes a good example of the connection working well.” Jenne also served on the Gateway District Board of Missions and Growth.
Last year Jenne traveled to Mozambique for the opening of the Gondola Training Center. She has previously served on mission teams to Haiti, the Gulf Coast and the Hinton Rural Life Center.
“I see mission experiences as an opportunity for a pilgrimage,” she said. “I found we have as much to learn from our brothers and sisters in Mozambique as we have to share with them.”
Jenne is looking forward to her position as a Conference director. “I think this position is uniquely suited for my gifts, and I’m excited to be able to serve the Conference in this way,” she said.
Jenne is a huge Cardinals fan, but realizes as someone serving all of Missouri, she may need to soften her team alliances. She did cry last year when the Royals lost the World Series.