Tony Layman named interim Arlington District superintendent to replace Bishop Cho
Virginia Conference Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer announced that the Rev. Wm. Anthony (Tony) Layman will serve as interim Arlington District superintendent (DS) from Sept. 1 through June 30, 2013, the end of the conference appointment year.
"A retired pastor and a former DS, Rev. Layman will bring a depth of experience and expertise to this role," Bishop Kammerer said when making the announcement. "I am very grateful for his willingness to serve in a crucial capacity. Please surround him with your prayers and support as he prepares for this transition."
Layman will replace Bishop Young Jin Cho, who was elected to The United Methodist Church episcopacy on June 19 and assigned to lead the Virginia Conference. Cho beings his four-year term as bishop on Sept. 1.
Earlier, Bishop Kammerer had announced that the Rev. Ralph Rowley, senior pastor at Messiah United Methodist Church in Springfield, would be named the new Arlington District superintendent. But on Aug.6, she announced that Rowley had decided not to join the Cabinet.
"After further consultation with Rev. Ralph Rowley about his projected appointment as superintendent for the Arlington District, he has decided not to take the appointment," Bishop Kammerer said. "I am reappointing him as Senior Pastor for the Messiah UMC."
She said Rowley's decision was based on recent changes to the salaries paid Virginia Conference district superintendents.
"This turn of events has been caused by my unintentional misrepresentation of the salary and compensation to Rev. Rowley," Bishop Kammerer said. "I was under the mistaken impression that the new salary level for DS appointments in the Virginia Conference was effective for 2013. However, the Annual Conference approved the recommendation of CFA that the new salary amount for DS’s would be effective from July 2012 forward."
During the June 22-24 session of the 2012 Virginia Annual Conference, members approved a recommendation from the conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) to establish the annual salary for all new district superintendents (appointed July 1, 2012, and after) at $88,000. All current district superintendents who are presently earning less than $88,000 will receive salary increases to bring them to $88,000 as of Jan. 1, 2013. All district superintendents currently earning more than $88,000 will remain at their current salary levels.
The recommendation was made in response to a motion approved at the 2011 Annual Conference asking CFA to develop a proposal to "more adequately meet the disciplinary requirements to provide both sufficient and equitable support for the district superintendents" and "address the current inequalities of a difference of over $33,000 in current district superintendent salaries."
The bishop noted that initial reaction to announcement of Rowley's appointment was "very affirming."
"It is very unfortunate that the appointment will not happen," she said. "I have apologized profusely to Rev. Rowley and his wife, Marcia, to the Messiah congregation, and to the Arlington Committee on Superintendency. I regret so very much that my mistake has brought pain and confusion to so many people."
"Rev. Rowley has done nothing wrong," Bishop Kammerer added. "He and Marcia have only been gracious with me in the midst of a very difficult situation. For that, I am so grateful. I also ask you, members of the Virginia Conference, for your prayers and forgiveness."
Rowley issued the following statement: "I am honored to have been considered for appointment to the Cabinet as superintendent of the Arlington District, and am especially grateful to Bishop Kammerer for her confidence in me in making this appointment. Nevertheless, I accept that under the new salary restrictions for district superintendents imposed by the 2012 session of the Virginia Annual Conference it is not in my best interest to accept an appointment to the Cabinet at this time. Therefore, I gladly return to ministry at Messiah United Methodist Church, which I have been privileged to serve for the past 11 years."