SPRINGFIELD -- Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced the appointments of Rev. Mary Kathryn Pearce and Rev. Carol Lakota Eastin to the position of Interim District Superintendent of the Illinois and Kaskaskia River districts, effective July 1 through Dec. 31, 2021.
According to Bishop Beard, “These part-time Interim appointments will allow us sufficient time to implement the structures and processes that will assist the Cabinet in moving from ten superintendents to eight superintendents without creating major disruptions within the current district operations.”
Pearce is completing eight years as Illinois River District Superintendent and Eastin is completing seven years as Kaskaskia River District Supertindent. According to the Book of Discipline, superintendents can serve six years but that can be extended to a maximum of eight years. Because these are interim appointments, they fall outside those term limits.
The IGRC is currently working on a conference restructuring plan. A fully-developed plan will be presented to the 2022 Annual Conference. The Bishop, with the help of a team from the GCFA, are seeking to proactively address issues pertaining to the organizational structure of the episcopal area. Annual Conferences across the North Central Jurisdiction are undergoing similar efforts to streamline operations in an effort to address the reality of changing demographics and financial concerns.
United Methodist annual conferences all around the United States are currently undergoing significant restructuring. Some of these conferences have been forced to cut conference staff, reduce the number of superintendents and expand the size of districts, and develop new methods and strategies for accomplishing mission and ministry. Most of the changes that have been made in other areas is due to a downturn in financial support.
“The IGRC is in a very strong financial position,” says Bishop Beard, and “we are not making changes because of a lack of money. We are trying to position ourselves so that whatever happens in the General Church, the IGRC will be able to respond with nimbleness and quickness so that we can continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
There are currently no plans to redraw any of the current district lines. All ten districts will remain as they are. The two retiring DSes will not be replaced and have consented to continue on a part-time basis to assist with the transition from10 DSes to eight.