Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As we begin the 2019 appointment season, I am encouraged by the progress occurring in our present appointments and for promising new clergy that we have been recruiting and training. God has great days ahead for us.
New announcements for 2019 for clergy retirements and new appointments may be found on the GNJ website using this link. The web pages also contain valuable information on our appointment making values and practices. A list of open churches will be posted on these pages at the end of January and updated each week.
I want to share with you about two superintendent transitions, the new superintendents that will be joining GNJ and the hiring of a new Director of Worship.
Steve Bechtold, Superintendent of the Skylands District, is completing his eight year term and will be transitioning to a new appointment to be announced later this year. Superintendents serve for six years and may be renewed for two additional years. Steve has been a strong leader of the district and within the cabinet. He brought experience, knowledge, strong administrative skills and a deep passion to serve Christ and the Church. While on the cabinet, Steve was the cabinet representative to BOOM and Next Gen Ministries. He also took leadership roles in teaching at the first GNJ Tanzania Pastor School and in streamlining and automating the charge conference forms for local churches. He has helped to move forward the GNJ vision and mission. Steve will be deeply missed by the cabinet.
Drew Dyson, Superintendent of the Raritan Valley District will begin an extension ministry appointment as the Executive Director of Princeton Senior Resource Center starting March 19, 2019. Drew is a leader with a strategic mind, a passion for developing leaders, particularly young leaders, and a commitment to growing stewardship and discipleship. Although he is leaving a year before his term is complete, he is pursuing work and a position that has deep family connections for him. His mother and father both dedicated themselves to ministry with seniors. His father was instrumental in the founding of Princeton Senior Resource Center when serving as pastor of the Princeton UMC. Drew taking over the leadership there brings his life’s work full circle. Drew will be deeply missed by the district and the cabinet. Gina Hendrickson will provide interim superintending during the transition period.
The role of superintendent is to represent the ministry of the bishop to the congregations and to articulate the hopes and concerns of congregational and clergy leadership to the bishop. I have been blessed by proven leaders who have served on the cabinet. I will miss the leadership of Steve Bechtold and Drew Dyson. They have served GNJ and me well. I also look forward to the new superintendents and their unique gifts and abilities.
Today, with these two open districts and the open Capital District, I am enthusiastic to announce three new superintendents. They are appointed because clergy and laity across the conference lifted their names for consideration and because their proven leadership skill will be critical to GNJ.
Hector Burgos will be the new Capital District Superintendent starting July 1, 2019. Hector currently serves as the Director of Connectional Ministries where he has led the conference in completing the 2013-2018 strategic plan and the development of the new one that takes us to 2023. Hector is a deeply spiritual and thoughtful leader. He leads both through relationships and strategic thinking. His commitments to congregational vitality, leadership development and urban ministry make him uniquely suited to lead the Capital District. Hector’s appointment to superintendent opens up the position of Director of Connectional Ministries. A full job description with information on how to apply can be found here.
Sang Won Doh will be the new Raritan Valley District Superintendent starting July 1, 2019. Sang Won is a leader of leaders. Most recently he is serving Calvary Korean UMC which has been in the top 25 fastest growing United Methodist Churches in the United States. His unique spiritual depth, consensus building and leadership style connects with the community and leads churches to grow spiritually, missionally and numerically. Sang Won has also been the chairperson of the Connectional Table where he has led the leadership of the conference in planning for the mission of GNJ.
Eunice Vega-Perez will be the new Skylands District Superintendent starting July 1, 2019. Eunice is passionate for growing faith, developing congregations, doing justice and mercy and building up the laity. In her last two appointments, she has grown worship and giving. Eunice has an ability to love people, help them see God’s larger vision and nurture and develop people to deeper faith and service in the world. Eunice has provided proven leadership for GNJ, serving as one of four clergy delegates to General Conference and a leader on the GNJ Board of Ordained Ministry.
The last staff transition announcement involves the position of Director of Worship. Last month, Eric Drew, who was serving in this role, was promoted to serve as the Executive Director of Next Generation Ministries, an area of critical focus for GNJ and our 2023 strategic plan. Today, we are announcing the hiring of Landon (Lan) Wilson to serve as GNJ’s Director of Worship.
Lan is a Kentucky native who has been leading worship since he was ten. He comes from a family with four generations of pastors and has traveled the world doing ministry and music. He most recently served as worship pastor for Cross Point Church, a multi-cultural, multi-site, multi-generational United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, PA. Lan will be joining the GNJ staff team on February 14, 2019.
As United Methodists, we have a unique connection that is built on prayer, dedication to Wesleyan values, and working together. In GNJ, we are becoming servant leaders with deepening commitment to local and world mission, making disciples and growing congregations. I am uniquely blessed that in our diversity, we remained unified to Christ’s mission. Thank you for your service to Christ and the church.
Keep the faith!
John Schol, Bishop
United Methodists of Greater New Jersey