Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I pray that your Lenten journey is offering you opportunities for reflection and discovery.
As you may be aware, at the 2012 Annual Conference session the conference voted to reduce the Louisiana Annual Conference by one district.According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline, the annual conference decides on the number of districts but it is the responsibility of the resident bishop to determine the boundaries of the districts.
The drawing of the district boundaries has called for a great deal of prayer, discernment and study. The extended cabinet has been an incredible resource in the decision-making process. Together, we have studied the demographics of the state of Louisiana to determine the highest potential for growth. We have looked carefully at the propensity for growth of our congregations. In continuing to clarify the role of the superintendent as chief missional strategist, we considered the challenges of supervision. Therefore the number of churches, the sizes of the churches and number of clergy under appointment in each of the districts were an essential pieces of information.
After exploring several possibilities, I have determined that incorporating the current Alexandria District into the Monroe, Shreveport, Lake Charles and Acadiana Districts offer the greatest possibility for future growth and optimal stewardship. With these revisions, I will also make minor changes to the New Orleans and Baton Rouge districts in order to create a better sense of balance.
I am in the process of making the final adjustments and will begin the process of working through a series of decisions impacted by the new boundaries. We will address some of these decisions through the nominations process and explore innovative ways to make the transition as fluid as possible. There will likely be some overlap throughout the next year in order to cause the least disruption and provide a seamless transition.
I am incredibly thankful for the people of the Alexandria District and for the transforming ministry you have brought to the congregations and communities you serve. I trust that this ministry will continue to flourish as we move to a new way of living out our life and work.
I covet your prayers as we begin the process of transitioning the districts and celebrate the new opportunities for mission and outreach in the Louisiana Annual Conference.
Cynthia Fierro Harvey