Bishop announces staffing changes

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In the Feb. 8, 2016 appointment listing, it was announced that Rev. Chris Pierson, presently our Director of Connectional Ministries, will be appointed to Wheaton: Gary United Methodist Church, effective July 1, 2016.

Rev. Chris Pierson

Rev. Chris Pierson

Rev. Pierson has served as the DCM since 2007, following his service as Director of Outreach and Witness Ministries since 2000. His history with conference life and work as well as his giftedness in preaching, teaching, and leading our connectional ministries has been greatly appreciated in countless ways. He looks forward to using what he has experienced and learned in these years of conference work and denominational leadership back in the local church.

“I’m particularly impressed by Gary Church’s devotion to worshiping God and their devotion to each other and I’m equally excited by their passion for ministry and mission. The number of ministry initiatives the congregation is engaged in is inspiring. I look forward to serving among the people of Gary Church and the wider community,” said Rev. Pierson. (Read his latest blog “Overjoyed!”)

Also in the same appointment listing, it was announced that Rev. Michael Mann, presently Associate Director of Mission and Advocacy since 2010, will be appointed to Carol Stream: St. Andrew’s UMC, effective July 1, 2016.


Rev. Michael Mann

His ministry has been greatly appreciated by many as he has educated, mobilized and organized our annual conference in matters related to immigration, Spanish-as-Second-Language, interfaith and youth outreach, Justice for Our Neighbors, mission outreach and more. Rev. Mann, too, is excited about this new opportunity in ministry.

“It is my joy to work with the leaders at St. Andrew to continue their history as an immigrant welcoming, reconciling congregation engaged in ministry with all in our community,” said Rev. Mann.

We will have an opportunity to recognize both of them at annual conference in June.

Bishop Dyck announced she will not be appointing anyone to the full-time position of DCM or the Associate Director of Mission and Advocacy as of July 1. “I will be combining the positions of Assistant to the Bishop (A2B) and the DCM. The combined position will be filled by Rev. Arlene Christopherson. Having one person as A2B and DCM is not uncommon in conferences our size,” said Bishop Dyck.

“I have always enjoyed the challenges that have been part of my ministry. Following the strong work of Reverend Chris Pierson and merging two full-time positions into one will be daunting. I am honored to be of service for such a time as this and pray for God’s wisdom and your grace as we navigate through change together,” said Rev. Christopherson.


Rev. Arlene Christopherson

Bishop Dyck says it will not be possible to combine the two already full-time positions of A2B and DCM into one and to have one less position in mission and advocacy and expect everything to remain the same in terms of the work.

“We will need to do some things differently. As an annual conference, we are in the midst of determining what we need in order to structure, staff, program, and budget our resources in the future, so it’s best to wait to make appointments to any staff position,” said Bishop Dyck.

Does this mean that the outcome of Landscape is determined with this staffing change?

“No, quite the opposite,” said Bishop Dyck. “It means that the outcome of our adaptive work together is uncertain and unknown; therefore, it’s uncertain and unknown what kind of staffing we will have when we have acquired greater and more widespread clarity following the Purpose Summit and the Listening Sessions. If we’re truly doing adaptive change, even the leader doesn’t know what the outcome will be. We do it together and that’s why it’s so important that all voices are heard, hard work is done to understand what is being said, and to keep the purpose of the annual conference clearly before us:

“The purpose of the annual conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.” (BOD, par. 601).”


Published Feb. 11, 2016

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