New District Superintendent Assignments
As Rev. Chuck Huffman heads to serve as the North District Superintendent, Rev. Anthony Vinson follows as East District Superintendent – each leveraging relationships, history and joint planning to make the most of these exciting new adventures.
There are obvious methods, synergies and even homecomings at work behind the personnel changes in two districts that were announced in February to fill the shoes of longtime North District Superintendent Rev. Bill Taylor. Rev. Chuck Huffman in some ways is coming full circle by handing the East Texas DS ‘baton’ to Rev. Tony Vinson and returning to the territory of his boyhood as he relocates to serve as the new North District Superintendent.
“Tony and I have worked very closely together throughout the appointment season,” shares Chuck, “becoming more familiar with the churches and pastors of our new districts. Of real benefit to both Tony and myself is that we each served in our respective districts previously -- Tony for five years as pastor of Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches, and I served for 12 years at churches in Queen City and Mt. Pleasant. When you consider that I also grew up and lived all of my pre-pastoral life in the Texarkana area, this is truly something of a homecoming for me.”
Chuck has a degree from East Texas State University and a Master of Divinity from SMU. A native of Texas and rural ministry settings since childhood, he is a lifelong learner “blessed with a variety of experiences in continuing education.” Additionally, he’s led multiple mission teams to domestic and international destinations and served on the Board of Missions for many years. Chuck shares, “I am proud of my family’s heritage in the UMC. I am honored, humbled and thrilled about the opportunity before me, and view this as a mission field appointment to be part of a global force for changing the world with the love of Christ.”
Rev. Tony Vinson also has an impressive leadership resume, including service on the Board of Trustees of Texas Wesleyan University and the Distinguished Alumnus Award in Pastoral Ministry from Brite Divinity School at TCU. For most of the last four decades he has served in seven appointments across the state and in several prominent district roles.
Shares Tony, “In my 38 years of ministry, I have had the sheer pleasure of having served just about every size congregation across our conference. What a joy it is to bring those years of experience back to beautiful East Texas. As I reflect on my years of ministry, I recall how it was in East Texas, as we were a part of some significant beginnings of important ministries. It was while serving Murchison and Henderson County Junior College in 1979, that we were a part of the leadership team that began U.M. Army.” Adds Tony, “While serving Perritte Memorial in Nacogdoches we were able to help build the Fellowship Hall/Education Building, and we began the East Texas Emmaus Community as I served as the first Spiritual Director. We love the people, culture and ministries of the area and are excited to see what new ministries await us all as we begin this new venture.”
Highlights while serving in Clear Lake, include the launch of Hispanic Ministry initiatives, the purchase of a significant parcel of land, and the construction of a New Multi-Use Worship Center. Adds Tony, “The most important ministry took place in the building of individual relationships in the midst of a large complex congregation. My leadership style has always been collaborative and relational which enables me to be a faithful and authentic witness to the Good News of Christ, which remains the same in every size community and congregation. I hope to bring that same passion for the Gospel into this new endeavor.”
Countdown to July 1
Revs. Bill Taylor, Chuck Huffman and Tony Vinson have been coordinating calendar items for most of this year to aid in the transition to their various districts. Notes Chuck, “The district inventories that we develop in February each year have also proven helpful in our getting to know our new districts. These highlight the current missional strategies and priorities in each district, some of the more innovative and effective ministries, as well as, identifying mission fields that are showing growth or significant potential.” Tony and Chuck are looking forward to the installation services, District Committee on Ministry meeting, and district picnics this summer, knowing this is an ideal setting to meet pastors and families.
Adds Chuck, “Tony and I, along with our spouses, have visited our new parsonages and district offices, becoming familiar with our new surroundings and, most importantly, with our new District Administrative Assistants (DAAs), who we, thankfully, already know.” He credits “these amazing DAAs” for “doing the heavy lifting in times of transition.” Admits Chuck, “They know the districts better than any of us, they help us get adjusted and acclimated, they know the details and idiosyncrasies that we DSs may have failed to convey. And because of their experience and the love and respect they give to and garner from the churches and pastors they serve, the DAAs provide a sense of stability and calm assurance in the midst of these changes.”
The transitional months provide the opportunity to look back and look forward. “More than anything,” shares Chuck, “I will miss the relationships built over the past four years with my DAAs, Vetta and Vonnie, and with all of the pastors and lay leaders of the 106 churches of the East District. It has truly been a great joy and honor to serve our Lord together with them! They are amazing people -representing Christ, sharing His love, and making a real difference in the lives of others, in their mission fields and beyond! And I will miss the beauty of the district - beautiful people, beautiful churches, beautiful lakes and forests.” At the same time, he adds, “I am looking forward to much of the same in the North District - working with two more amazing DAAs Lonna Nunn and Anna Rohde, getting more familiar with the pastors and lay leaders of the churches, learning from them about their ongoing ministries and missions, joining and supporting them in their work, and learning with them about new opportunities and ways to change lives and change the world with the love of Christ -- and becoming reacquainted with the beauty and people of the North District!”
In the meantime, Chuck and Tony will be praying continually for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and for the wisdom and strength to follow faithfully. Adds Chuck, “I can't wait to see what God has in store in this time of new beginnings!”