Methodist churches are structured in a way that each church has a minister that is appointed. That is to say ministers are not hired by the local church but rather that local church receives a minister at the direction of the bishop. It is a system called itinerancy and it is also found in other denominations such as Catholic and Episcopalian.
As a minister, I am the one who is appointed by the bishop from one church to another. Within the UMC I am the one who leaves the local church and the laity are the ones who stay behind. Methodist clergy are not accustom to being the ones to stay behind.
All of this changed just the other day.
When someone is elected a bishop then the minister is appointed to go to another conference to serve as that conference's bishop. Even the bishops fall under the itinerancy system. Additionally, the Central Texas Conference has never had a minister who was elected a bishop. To put this another way, the CTC has never had a minister itinerate out.
All of that change just the other day.
Rev. Mike Mckee, the senior minister of FUMC Hurst (a church in the CTC) was elected a bishop. The first time the CTC has ever had a bishop elected from it. The first time the CTC had a home grown bishop itinerate out. It was the first time the CTC was left behind.
I am delighted for Bishop McKee and the CTC, but I am sad to see my mentor, minister and friend move to another conference.
I guess this is what the other side of itinerancy feels like.