New District Boundaries and District Office Locations Set
At the annual conference session on Sunday, June 13, 2021, the Missouri Annual Conference voted to reduce the number of districts from nine to five, effective July 1, 2022. The history and process of this action can be reviewed here.
The Book of Discipline states that the annual conference decides the number of districts and the bishop, in consultation with the Cabinet, draws the lines for the districts (para. 415.4).
Click here to see lists of churches in each district. The names of the five districts are North Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. The boundaries of these districts begin starting July 1, 2022.
Although the districts go into effect on July 1, local churches will continue to pay their 2022 district apportionments to the same place your church sent apportionments in the previous year. Paying all your 2022 district apportionments allows the nine previous districts to pay all remaining obligations. CFA will then handle the transition of remaining assets to the new districts per the terms of the proposal and the task force’s recommendations. Beginning January 1, 2023, local churches will begin paying one Conference apportionment as district costs are incorporated into the Conference operating budget.
In addition to setting district boundaries, Bishop Bob Farr announced the locations of the district offices and the following appointments to these new districts, effective July 1, 2022:
- North Central, located in Columbia – Rev. Dr. Mi Hyeon Lee
- Northeast, located in Ballwin – Rev. Robin Bell
- Northwest, located in Independence – Rev. David Gilmore
- Southeast, located in Cape Girardeau – Rev. Dr. Bruce Baxter
- Southwest, located in Joplin – Rev. Alice Fowler
With the passage of the redistricting resolution, funding is provided for 1.5 administrative staff in each of the five districts. If the districts determine their needs require more than 1.5 administrative staff, the district will have to supplement its district ministries budget from their existing reserves. The reduction in district staff was a serious consideration of the task force who prepared the proposal as well as the Bishop and Cabinet. A small number of district staff have been notified that their position will likely end following the transition and have been granted severance packages to aid them in their transition. One district staff member will retire at the end of the appointive year.
“I appreciate the spirit of cooperation in making this change,” said Bishop Farr. “Redistricting will reduce the financial burden on the local church so that more money for mission and ministry remained with local churches.”
Bishop Farr, along with Conference leadership, believed the Conference needed to right-size due to declining trends in The United Methodist Church and the continued strain and division related to disagreements on human sexuality. The Missouri Conference last re-drew district lines in 2014. At that time there were almost 800 churches in the Missouri Conference, and the number of districts was decreased from 12 to nine. Currently there are about 700 churches, with an average of 16 churches choosing to close per year since 2014. Prior to the pandemic, 35 percent or 250 United Methodist churches in Missouri worshipped 25 or less, making them vulnerable to closure. Visit moumethodist.org/redistricting for more information.