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Methodist ministers on the move

United Methodist ministers in are switching churches as part of an annual nationwide reassignment.

By WAVENEY ANN MOORE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 8, 2002


ST. PETERSBURG -- In United Methodist churches nationwide, this is a month for comings and goings.

It's the spring shuffle, or stated with more decorum, the annual reassignment of the church's ministers. Unlike many denominations, United Methodist ministers are not hired by their congregations. Rather, they serve at the discretion of the local bishop, who appoints them as he deems appropriate.

Decisions about assignments are made after the bishop and his cabinet -- made up of district superintendents -- meet, said the Rev. Kevin James, superintendent for the St. Petersburg District of the United Methodist Church.

James, whose district covers Pinellas and Pasco counties and is composed of 44 churches, two missions and more than 38,000 United Methodists, said the annual appointments are not made lightly.

"Prior to the assignments, the district superintendent is in consultation with each pastor and each local church Pastor Parish Relations Committee," he said.

"This method is used so that the bishop and cabinet know more about the pastor and church."

This year's appointments take effect Wednesday, James said.

For congregations such as First United Methodist and McCabe United Methodist in St. Petersburg, the past weeks have been spent saying farewell to beloved leaders. The Rev. Terry Markins has been at First United Methodist for six years. The Rev. Floyd L. Waters Sr., who is retiring, is leaving McCabe, 2800 26th Ave. S, after 12 years.

"We normally don't stay any place as long as I have been here. I've made some lifelong friends here," said Waters, who got Headstart to launch a program at McCabe and also eventually to build its own facility on church property.

Waters and his wife, Inez, are moving to Jacksonville, his hometown, where he will be pastor at Alexander United Methodist Church.

"I am retiring," said Waters, who has three sons and seven grandchildren. "But we all have an opportunity to pastor on a part-time basis, so that is what I will be doing."

The new pastor at McCabe will be the Rev. Dwayne Craig, a graduate of Duke University School of Divinity. He last served at Trinity United Methodist Church in West Palm Beach.

For Markins of the historic First United Methodist Church in downtown St. Petersburg, his move brings a bonus. He has been promoted to district superintendent of the Leesburg District.

"I was most surprised and most happy, and I just look forward to the challenges of this job. Now I will have 56 churches and two missions," said Markins, whose district will include Ocala, Spring Hill, Crystal River and Brooksville.

"I am looking forward to the administrative end of it," Markins said Wednesday, as he and his wife, Rosalie, prepared to move from their Placido Bayou home. "I am ready for this kind of change at this time in my ministry."

Nonetheless, Markins, the father of a stockbroker son and a daughter who is the mother of his brand-new grandson, said it isn't easy to leave his old job.

"I think I will miss being a pastor to a local congregation and preaching every Sunday. I will miss the pastoral role of hospital visits and working with people during times of grief and times of joy," said Markins, whose last service at First United Methodist will be Sunday. Dr. John Harrison, a dentist who is chairman of the staff parish committee at First United Methodist, praised Markins and said he will be missed.

"Terry is a real good friend of mine," Harrison said. "Terry has certainly built the membership of the church. We're probably stronger than we have been, ever."

Superintendent James predicts that Markins will do well in his new position.

"I truly believe that Terry has the gift and graces to serve as an outstanding district superintendent," James said. "In addition, he possesses outstanding leadership skills, a passion to make disciples for Jesus Christ, and believes in inclusiveness. He will further the kingdom work as a superintendent in the Florida Conference."

At First United Methodist, Harrison said, Markins managed to introduce a contemporary service without creating friction in the congregation.

"It was not easy for the church to change its traditions," Harrison said. "We tend to be a traditional church."

The service is now a success, with "standing room only," he added.

First United Methodist, 212 Third St. N, was founded in 1889. Its landmark building, across from Williams Park, was completed in 1926 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During Markins' tenure, the church's red brick exterior was repointed. In the past few years, the church has increased the size of its downtown campus by purchasing properties around it, including the former administrative offices of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida. It remodeled its fellowship hall, started both a stewardship ministry and a lay ministry that lets trained members of the congregation help to care for those who are grieving or in need of other comfort. Last year, the congregation took in 100 new members and welcomed 22 babies.

"First United Methodist is one of those great old downtown churches that continues to thrive and flourish with good lay leadership," Markins said.

Following Markins will be the Rev. H. Clark Edwards, 50, who is leaving First United Methodist Church of Brandon, where he has spent the past two years.

"While I was here, we completed a brand new $2.5-million sanctuary and I established some new programs and missions and local outreach, as well as cultivated a tremendous amount of church growth," Edwards said during a telephone interview this week.

Edwards said he is looking forward to his new assignment.

The pastor and his wife, Donna, a registered nurse, have three children -- Bryan, 22, Tracey, 20, and David, 11.

His first service will be on June 16, Father's Day.

Who's coming

The Rev. Doyle Blanton, to St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Largo, as associate pastor, from Crystal Lake United Methodist Church, Crystal Lake, Ill.

The Rev. Dwayne Craig, to McCabe United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, from Trinity United Methodist Church, West Palm Beach.

The Rev. H. Clark Edwards, to First United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, from First United Methodist Church, Brandon.

The Rev. Kelly Greenawald, to Sylvan Abbey United Methodist Church, Clearwater, from Port Tampa United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Terri Jones to First United Methodist Church, Gulfport. This is her first appointment with the United Methodist denomination. .

The Rev. James Morgan, to Union Street United Methodist Church, Clearwater, from Riverview United Methodist Church, Tampa.

The Rev. Lin Osborn, to Asbury United Methodist Church, New Port Richey, from Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota.

The Rev. Joseph Teague, to First United Methodist Church of Dunedin, from First United Methodist Church of Miami.

The Rev. Bruce Toms, to George Young Memorial United Methodist Church, Palm Harbor, from Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church, Tampa.

The Rev. Rick Thompson, to Riviera United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, from Trinity United Methodist Church, Palm Beach Gardens.

The Rev. Ken Zimmerman, to First Tarpon Springs United Methodist Church, from Tomoka United Methodist Church, Tomoka.

Who's going

The Rev. Terry Markins, from First United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, to superintendent of the Leesburg district.

The Rev. Fred Ball, from First Clearwater United Methodist Church, to Skycrest United Methodist Church, Clearwater.

The Rev. Holly Boardman, from the recently closed Safety Harbor First United Methodist Church, to Azalea Park United Methodist Church, Orlando.

The Rev. Debbie Halcomb, from the recently closed High Point United Methodist Church, Largo, to Matecumbe United Methodist Church, Miami.

The Rev. John Hicks, from Union Street United Methodist Church, Clearwater, to First United Methodist Church, Clewiston.

The Rev. Tom Norton, from Skycrest United Methodist Church, Clearwater, to Christ United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg.

The Rev. Frank Reynolds, from Riviera United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, to Faith United Methodist Church, Jacksonville.

The Rev. Jim Rosenburg, from George Young Memorial United Methodist Church, Palm Harbor, to First United Methodist Church, Fort Myers.

The Rev. Doug Swan, from Asbury United Methodist Church, New Port Richey, to Port Tampa United Methodist Church, Tampa.

The Rev. Floyd Waters, from McCabe United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, to Alexander United Methodist Church, Jacksonville.

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