The TAC Transition Team is Preparing the Way for a New Bishop
A team is working behind the scenes to welcome a new episcopal leader this September, following Bishop Janice Riggle Huie’s retirement.
Although a new bishop will not be named for the Texas Annual Conference until July 16th and not take office until September, the wheels of transition are already in motion behind the scenes.
In March, the Committee on Episcopacy led by Dr. Tom Pace, St. Luke’s UMC, Houston, discussed the characteristics needed by the TAC in its new Bishop, and noted the candidates that are expected to be available. “At that meeting, we identified members who could serve on a Transition Team and Brad Morgan and I joined from the Episcopacy Committee,” reports Gary Wooley. ”We look
forward to God lifting up the right candidate for bishop of the TAC and to
our Transition Team helping to get the new bishop started.”
The nine-member team began meeting this month. “We are being intentional about making sure the new episcopal leader has all the resources possible to become familiar with our history, our churches, our vision and our culture,” shares Episcopal Secretary Nancy Hinshaw. Although there has always been a process to welcome a new bishop, this team is expanding on prior efforts by reviewing suggestions and best practices from other conferences. Rev. B.T. Williamson, Assistant to the Bishop, adds, “In addition to documents and data, a committee will be established to host a visit by the new episcopal family during the summer to tour the area, meet key people and walk through the episcopal residence. And in the fall, there will be two Services of Investiture - one in the Houston area and one in the northern part of the conference.”
As a member of the Transition Team, Nancy represents the Episcopal Office and will be the compiler of the "TAC Transition Encyclopedia." She explains, “As the Episcopal Secretary, my role will be to provide assistance that is in keeping with the work style of the new bishop. In the same way as church staff transitions to a new pastor, flexibility will be important as we merge current office practices with new needs and expectations.” She adds, “Although I've been on conference staff for almost 23 years, I have only worked for one bishop. Bishop Huie offered me the position when her previous secretary retired and I have been in her office for the past 10 years.”
Lay Leader Stephanie Griffin is also a key member of the Transition Team. “We will be collecting and compiling information over the next couple of months that gives comprehensive overviews of current resources and ministries of the Texas Annual Conference,” she explains. The notebook will provide information on topics such as the Episcopal residence, office, budget, official events and calendar requests, vision and strategic emphasis, a briefing on the Cabinet members and practices, and other reports and background data.
Adds Stephanie, “We are making every effort to provide a clear and concise picture of who we are and how we arrived at our present ministries. As Conference Lay Leader, I am excited to say that information about the Vibrant Church Initiative, New Church starts and who we are from the North District to the Southeast District will be a part of the information that our next bishop will have as close as an electronic tablet.”
Communication Director Paula Arnold is making plans for announcing the arrival of the new bishop to the conference and the public media, as well as providing insight on communication priorities past and present.
Other members of the team include Dr. Elijah Stansell, TAC treasurer, Cabinet representative Rev. Alicia Coltzer and Core Leadership Team representative Mary Daffin. The new bishop will be named in July, followed by a breakfast with the lay and clergy delegates to the Jurisdictional Conference. Other Welcome Events will be planned and announced between July and the first day in the office on September 1.
“There are many moving parts to this transition,” adds B.T., “so we are all working in tandem to oversee and facilitate a thorough introduction of the new bishop to the Texas Annual Conference.”