Rev. Lynn Dyke, chair of the Nominations Committee, began her report by explaining in the past two years, the Conference has done some right-sizing, reducing the number of districts from nine to five and reducing the Conference budget. The nominations committee recommended “right-sizing” nominations as well.
The Missouri Conference structure was determined by approving the Pathways Task Force recommendations in 2007. At that time, there were 888 churches in the Conference. Now 16 years later, the Missouri Conference is about 25% smaller, with 240 fewer churches.
“We did consider all requirements in the Book of Discipline for the size of Conference committees and teams,” Dyke said. “We believe that in right-sizing, we can free up great leaders to serve our connection and communities in many other ways. We believe that right-sizing the smaller teams will increase the engagement of its members. And we believe that in right-sizing, we will shape our teams into more multicultural or non-majority teams, which is one of our Conference’s goals. Knowing that the Nominating Committee will be bringing to next year’s Annual Conference a new slate of Conference leadership for the 2024 quadrennium, it seemed that this was the time to consider right-sizing so that your decisions this year can drive our team’s work in the coming year.”
The Conference Nominating Committee nominates to fill the 174 positions on 15 Conference teams and committees.
Their report also includes the Administrative Review Committee, the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Committee on Investigation, which, by Discipline, are all nominated by the Bishop. Their report also includes all district nomination slates submitted by the district superintendents for our five districts. Since this is the third year of the quadrennium, the Nomination Team only needed to nominate for vacancies.
Because of disaffiliations, personal requests and two appointment changes, this report has nominated five new chairpersons.
- Bishop Farr is nominating Rev. Yvi Martin to chair the Administrative Review Committee.
- Rev. Lisa Morris is nominated to chair Archives and History.
- Rev. Curtis Olson is nominated to chair the Clergy Support Team.
- Kyle Kranes-Rutz is nominated to chair the NextGen Ministries Team.
- Colette Cummings is nominated to chair the Values Team.
Additionally, as mandated by the Book of Discipline, the Trustees will elect their new chairperson when they meet next, as their current chairperson ends his service on that team.
One of the Conference’s goals, growing out of its work on race and culture, is that 25% of all Conference boards, committees and teams are chaired by people of color by July 1, 2024.
“We acknowledge that we have not yet met this goal, for with these nominations, only two of the 14 chairs we nominate are people of color,” Dyke said. “We are committed to continue working on this goal this coming year as we bring you nominations for the 2024 quadrennium.”
This year there were 22 other vacancies created by resignations, lack of participation, disaffiliation votes, and term limits.
“In our work, we seriously considered how we could lift persons of color and younger persons into Conference leadership,” Dyke said. “Our team’s goal, as we embrace the Conference’s work in race and culture, is to have 25% of the membership of our Conference boards, committees and teams be racially diverse persons. We confess that we are not there yet, though 41% of the persons we nominated this year are people of color.”
The Nominations Committee requests help in nominating gifted leaders into the leadership pool. Attendees of the Annual Conference were given a booklet called “We Need Your Voice.” and can visit www.moumethodist.org/nominate.
Dyke urged everyone to take the General Commission on Religion and Race’s online course on implicit bias. It is free to anyone in the Missouri Conference.
“As our Conference seeks to be a place for all people, a place for people of diverse cultures and generations, it is important for each of us to recognize the unconscious biases that cause us to act, react, and speak in ways that are not of Christ,” Dyke said.
Starting with the slate of Conference leaders we nominate next year, every member of a Conference board or agency will be required to have completed the course. You can take the course by visiting www.moumethodist.org.
The Nominations Committee thanked God for the life and witness of Mike Rushing.
“Mike served his church, district, this Conference and his God faithfully,” Dyke said. “At Mike’s death in March, he was a district lay leader in the Southeast District and a member of our Nominations Committee. Mike fought the good fight and has gone to his eternal home, and we thank God for him.” The Nominations Committee report and recommendations were all approved at the Sunday vote.