Reports Related to Clergy Excellence

Board of Ordained Ministry                                                                                                                          

Ministers’ Emergency Aid Fund



Board of Ordained Ministry 

Board of Ordained Ministry

2020 marks the beginning of a new quadrennium, which would normally be the time we would say farewell to an outgoing class of CBOM members and welcome a new class.

Because of COVID-19, however, this year will be different.

¶ 635.1.1 of The Book of Discipline states: “Each annual conference, at the first session following the General Conference, shall elect for a term of four years a Board of Ordained Ministry.”

Since the 2020 Louisiana Annual Conference and 2020 General Conference have both been rescheduled:

  • New members of the CBOM will not be elected until the Annual Conference after General Conference, and
  • The class of 2012 will, therefore, continue to serve until the Annual Conference after General Conference.

A few members of the class of 2012 have indicated they are not able to serve this extended term and will be replaced ad interim by Bishop Harvey.

I offer special thanks to John Robert Black, who has faithfully and tirelessly led Louisiana’s License to Preach School for the past eight years; to Jack O’Dell who has served as Chair of the Division of Elders for the past four years, and, of course to John Edd Harper who makes all we do possible.

I am grateful for all of those who have served and those will continue to serve on the CBOM. The work we do is important work. There are still people hearing and answering a call to ministry. There are still people in the licensing and ordination process. There are still people who need support and mentoring in Christ’s work. I am proud of the work we do and know we will continue to do it well even in these trying times.

Yours in Christ,

Brady S. Whitton,
Chair, CBOM

  • Division of Elders

    Division of Elders

    The Division of Elders celebrate the following:

    • Continued cooperation with Cabinet in assessment of readiness and effectiveness of RIM candidates.
    • The RIM (Residence in Ministry) process continues to hold on to experiences that have been fruitful while offering a more prescriptive one on one conversation and coaching in the third year.
    • Continued working with Rev. Craig Gilliam utilizing Strengths-Based Leadership helping RIM participants to identify, claim, and leverage their strengths in ministry.
    • The work of the Division has interacted with 11 candidates in this Conference year.

    The Division has met the challenges of our day with regard to the process. It is only appropriate to close this report thanking Rev. John Edd Harper, Rev. Craig Gilliam, and Bob Carrell for their faithful work with regard to our Division. Please join me in prayers for the Division, its work, and the Provisional members in the process.

    I also wish to thank those who will be rotating off the Board of Ministry for their faithful work. I also want to thank those who will continue. I trust that whatever challenges the days ahead hold for our ministry, God. is already there working for good.

    Dr. M. Jack O’Dell,

  • Division of Deacons & Diaconal Minsters 

    Division of Deacons and Diaconal Ministers

    From among the baptized, deacons are called by God to a lifetime of servant leadership, and a ministry of word, service, compassion and justice. In these unprecedented times, the emphasis of the deacon’s ministry has never been more essential.

    The Division of Deacons and Diaconal Ministers continues its work shaping candidates for ministry in a variety of settings from local churches to hospitals from community non-profits to the justice system, and we are pleased that gifted people from our annual conference continue to rise up and answer the call to ordained ministry and living out this call as deacons among us. The diaconate stands in the unique place of interpreting the needs of the world for the church, yet also equipping and sending individuals out into the world to do the needed work on behalf of Christ and the Church. We remain optimistic that the coming years will bring more candidates into this crucial ministry of the church.

    We also continue to see lay and clergy leaders seeking professional and para-professional certifications in specialized areas of ministry, most often in the areas of spiritual formation, Christian education, and youth ministry. We continue to refine and evaluate the process we use in our division to interview these candidates, and we are pleased with the ways in which these individuals are strengthening the ministries of the churches and communities they serve.

    We are delighted that this year, we recommend three people for ordination and full membership and five candidates for commissioning and provisional membership. In addition, four people will continue in our Residency in Ministry (RIM) process. All of these candidates, together, represent the wide and varied ways that deacons serve on behalf of the church, with primary appointments both inside local congregations and in the wider community.

    Sarah Williams Shoup,

  • Division of Local Pastors & Associate Members 

    Division of Local Pastors & Associate Members

    The Division of Local Pastors & Associate Members supports the mission of the Louisiana United Methodist Conference through the credentialing of those individuals who have been certified by their local district committees to continue the ministerial process. This is accomplished through ongoing development, implementation, overseeing, evaluation, training, certifying, program development, recommending and supporting the clergy leadership for the conference and the larger denomination.

    This division is made up of a diverse group of clergy and laity from across the conference. The members of this division are volunteers and each member logs in many hours of dedicated time. We work in teams to care for specific aspects of the Board of Ordained Ministry’s work as it pertains to local pastors, associate members and those from other fellowships. These teams pray, nurture, lend expertise, cry with, listen to, support and encourage those who come before us for this vital ministry.

    Our discernment teams interview each candidate annually in the spring, reviewing, applying BOD standards, maintaining educational records and credentialing candidates that will provide the best excellence in ministry for our conference.

    This year we have:

    Associate Members – 5
    Full-time Local Pastors – 25
    Part-time Local Pastors – 87
    Other Fellowship – 11
    Retired Associate Members – 14
    Retired Other Fellowship – 4
    Retired Local Pastors – 29
    Other Methodist Denominations – 3

    Those who completed the Course of Study this year are Anna Morris-Jackson, Paul Laird, Samuel Neal, Kaseem Short, and Charles Washington.

    Number of Local Pastors and Other Fellowship clergy interviewed this spring – 79

    As always, I would like to thank our entire division who have given themselves to this process. Special thanks to John Edd Harper, who without his expertise and tireless work ethic, this would be a difficult task to undertake.

    Rev. Chris Fryou

  • Order of Elders

    Order of Elders

    The purpose of the Order of Elders is spelled out in paragraphs 307-309 of the 2016 Book of Discipline. In part, the Order is to provide “for regular meetings of its members for continuing formation in relationship to Jesus Christ through such experiences as Bible study, study of issues facing church and society, and theological exploration in vocational identity and leadership; assist with plans for individual study plans and retreats; develop a bond of unity and common commitment to the mission and ministry of The United Methodist Church and the Annual Conference; enable the creation of relationships that allow mutual support and trust; and hold accountable all members of the Order in fulfilling these purposes.”

    We as the Order of Elders covenant to the following:

    • Pray for one another and agree to be supportive of one another’s ministries by acts of both intention and restraint. By intention, through public prayer and means of communication that offer support. By restraint, through avoidance of collegial gossip or other such acts which tear down each other’s ministries.
    • Be intentional about nourishing our spiritual lives and encouraging others to do so. This can be done through participation in the means of grace: Study of Scripture, Prayer, Fasting, Holy Communion and Conferencing.
    • In Conferencing, find ways to connect collegially by understanding our ordination within the Wesleyan tradition. The Order of Elder is unique to the ministry of the church. Our distinctive Wesleyan heritage enables us to be set apart as leaders which the church needs. The Elder is ordained to the ministry of Word, Service, Sacrament, and Order. Therefore, it is important and necessary for these unique attributes of this office to be explored, understood, and celebrated.

    The Order of Elders continues to support our incoming Elders in Full Connection by gifting them their ordination stole and explaining the covenant we share with one another. As we have done at our ordination, Christ invites us to recommit ourselves to the work as Elders in the Louisiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

    Karli D. Pidgeon,

  • Order of Deacons & Diaconal Minsters 

    Order of Deacons & Diaconal Ministers

    Called to Word, Service, Compassion and Justice, deacons “act as a bridge between the church and the world, “serving with compassion as they seek to serve those on the margins of society.” (BOD ¶329). Deacons work in community centers, health care and counseling fields, reaching out and drawing people in from all walks of life. They live and tell the Gospel story and help to lead others to an abundant life in Christ through music ministry, spiritual direction, missions, teaching and preaching the Word and pastoral care within local churches.

    The Order held a retreat at the Wesley Center on November 3-4, 2019. The retreat, entitled “Listening to Your Own Heart, was led by Laura Vaughan, a United Methodist spiritual director. Laura led us through a time of contemplation and sharing where we reflected on listening to our own hearts as well as seeing the wisdom of the community. This annual retreat time allows deacons and diaconal ministers an opportunity to renew our covenant with each other, supporting each other in our ministries and personal lives.

    The Order traditionally gathers for a meal during Annual Conference. As the Covid-19 pandemic led to the postponement of Annual Conference 2020, we set up a Zoom call in order to touch base with each other. The virtual gathering allowed us to share with each other the challenges we have faced as a result of the pandemic and discuss ways in which to stay connected with those we are called to serve, when social distancing has become the new norm.

    The Order of Deacons and Diaconal Ministers remains committed to serve as the bridge between the church and the world as we serve in our individual appointments and within the Louisiana Conference. It has been my privilege to serve as the Chair of the Order for the last four years.

    Rev. Mimi McDowell,

  • Fellowship of Local Pastors & Associate Members 

    Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members

    We celebrate the ministry of those in our Fellowship; who serve the Louisiana Annual Conference from one end of the state to the other. As of June 2020, there are 171 active clergy who are a part of the Fellowship: Full-time & Part-time local pastors, Associate Members, Elders from other Conferences and Methodist denominations, and clergy from non-Methodist denominations. These servants have heard the call of God in their lives and give of themselves in inviting all people to experience Kingdom life here and now. It is a joy and honor to work along-side these courageous and committed pastors.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Pattye Hewitt, Fellowship Chair of LP & AM

  • Confidential Counseling Grants 

    Confidential Counseling Grants

    At the time of this writing, it’s that time of the year again. Spiritually, we will begin the season of Lent; secularly, the season of spring cleaning is upon us. Lent calls us to focus on our spiritual closet. Springcleaning calls us to examine, discard, replace, and clean up our physical homes. As John Wesley was known to ask, “How is it with your soul?”, Lent begs the same question: “How are we spiritually?” Do we feel connected or disconnected from our SOURCE? Is our spiritual well overflowing (Psalm 23) or parched and dry? Similar to the Serenity Prayer, as found in Prayer No. 459 in our hymnal, the action of spring-cleaning calls us to reflect on what actions we need to take in our personal/vocational life. What are the changes we need to undertake or deposit in God’s Hands, and how do we tap into that well of unsurpassing peace? The Confidential Counseling Grant (CCG) is one way of cleaning out and refreshing our spiritual self.

    Over the eight years that I have been blessed to serve as the CBOM’s Care & Nurture chairperson, the CCG has been used by clergy (elders, deacons, local pastors, provisional pastors, retired-appointed), spouses and/or dependent children. I/We have been privileged to receive comments such as the following regarding the CCG: This has been a source of great help to me and my family…I am most appreciative of this assistance…to simply Thanks from clergy as well as similar, affirmative comments from providers.

    Below is information related to securing the Confidential Counseling Grant:

    Who may receive the grant?
    Clergy of the Louisiana conference under appointment, their spouse, and/or dependent children.

    How much is the grant?
    Grants are up to $300 per request, with an annual maximum of $1,200.

    How do I apply for the grant?

    Write a letter to CBOM Care & Nurture Chair:

    Rev. Dr. Elenora M. Cushenberry
    8742 Scenic Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70807
    Cell phone: 504-416-2882 /
    (Cell phone & email are provided for questions only… Not for submission of a request for the grant.)

    Include the name, address, and credentials of the licensed mental health professional provider for which you are requesting payment. Payment is made directly to the provider or provider’s associated facility.

    Please indicate whether payment is to be made payable to the health professional or, if applicable, to the associated facility. Include the address to which you, the clergy member, want your letter of confirmation sent; i.e. whether the letter should be sent to the address of your appointed church, home, or another location, such as P.O. Box, etc.

    How my name (and family member) is kept confidential? No identifiable information is utilized in the payment process. Name(s) and other identifiable information (church, address, etc.) do not go beyond your letter requesting the grant and is kept confidential throughout the process by the Care & Nurture Chair. The Chair sends the provider a copy of the letter sent to you, which includes an arbitrarily, assigned numerical code. This code is used to request payment through the CBOM Coordinator and Treasurer to the provider. Your letter is seen and kept only by the Chair and are destroyed at the end of each calendar year, including letters sent to you by the Chair.

    How long does the process take?
    Your letter of request will be processed within a week from the date of receipt, and the conference office will prepare and send the payment at the next time for check-writing (usually within one week). If you have not received confirmation from the Chair within 10 days of making the request, please contact the Chair to verify receipt of your request.

    Let us take advantage of a resource that is available to all clergy under appointment, our spouse, and our dependent children—in order that we may be the most effective we can be to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Let us better care for this Temple of God (2 Corinthians 16:5).

    Elenora Mackey Cushenberry,

Ministers’ Emergency Aid Fund

Ministers' Emergency Aid Fund

The Ministers’ Emergency Aid Fund is supported by the clergy of the Louisiana Conference who voluntarily contribute one-half of one percent of their base salary annually. We recommend the following guidelines for the Ministers’ Emergency Aid Fund:

  1. That each clergyperson under appointment in the Louisiana Conference is asked and encouraged to give an amount equal to one-half of one percent of their base salary for 2020 and 2021 to the Ministers’ Emergency Aid Fund. These amounts can be deducted from the clergy’s payroll and remitted to the Conference office as often as desired (line 5030 on the Conference Remittance Sheet).
  2. That this fund be used to provide emergency benefit aid to the clergy of the Louisiana Conference and their immediate families, subject to the following guidelines:
    1. The maximum amount allowed for a single emergency grant shall be $1,500.
    2. Exceptional situations may be given special consideration by the Cabinet.
    3. Only one grant will be provided to any one individual in a twelve-month period.

In calendar year 2019, Conference clergy contributions and Annual Conference offerings for the Minister’s Emergency Aid Fund totaled $18,377.52. Grants totaling $7,500 were distributed to clergy families. There were 108 out of 380 active full time and part time clergy pledges received in 2019, or 28.4% of Louisiana Conference clergy. The collection rate on the amount pledged was 73% or $18,377.52. For 2020, the number of clergy pledging was 115 with a pledged total of $29,386.79.

Many thanks to all our clergy who contribute to the support of colleagues in their times of need. Seeing more clergy involved in this effort is encouraging and inspiring. Your aid has made a difference!

Gary Willis,
Cabinet Secretary


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