By the Rev. Seonyoung Kim, District Superintendent
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17, NRSV)
In response to the invitation of the bishop and appointive Cabinet of the Virginia Conference to develop a plan for the redistricting of the conference to a maximum of eight districts, the Eastern Shore District and Elizabeth River District formed a District Initiative Team. After working together over many months in prayerful conversation, deep listening, study, and research, we discern that we would be more effective if we jointly utilize all the gifts that God has already given and will give to both districts. The anticipated benefits would be the maximization of missional opportunities, facilitation of the growth of disciples, revitalization of our churches, financial stewardship, etc.
The District Initiative Team, composed of seven clergy, seven laity, and the district superintendent, proposes to create a new district from the two current districts, increasing missional opportunities in making disciples of Jesus Christ.
A major concern raised from district-wide conversations is how the new district might foster a sense of cohesion when separated through the middle by a 17.6-mile barrier, and solutions under consideration include investments in technology that will facilitate hybrid in-person/virtual meetings, hosting of broadcast events at centralized locations, etc.
Recognizing that local United Methodist churches are on the front lines of making disciples, reaching out to all with the love of Jesus Christ, the newly created district will equip, empower, and bridge our Christian faith communities. Significant focus will be placed on initiatives of lay servant development and on children and youth ministries. The proposed structure of the new district includes a new District Board of Ministries to oversee a new Board of Laity along with the other various ministries across the region; also newly created are two part-time district staff to further resource clergy and laity, and to increase vitality in the mission and ministry of local churches.