Conference Leadership Team Announces District Names

by Paul Thomas, Director of Communications
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Detroit: Metropolitan UMC will house the offices of the new DETROIT RENAISSANCE DISTRICT, which was created after the conference voted to reduce a district at the 2010 annual conference session.

Administrative Assistant Named for Detroit Renaissance District

The Detroit East and Detroit West District committees on the superintendency have named Cecelia Tolliver, who has served as the administrative assistant for the Detroit East District since 1994, as the administrative assistant for the Detroit Renaissance District. Tolliver will begin her duties on July 1. Cynthia Jackson, the Detroit West District administrative assistant for the past 27 years, will end her service with the district on June 30.  

Retirement Celebrations for Lee, Miller Scheduled for May 14-15

A farewell and retirement celebration for the Rev. Dr. John Lee, Detroit West District superintendent, is scheduled for Saturday, May 14, at Livonia: St. Matthews UMC. Festivities will begin with dinner at 5:00 p.m. for the first 200 people that R.S.V.P. The celebration of Dr. Lee’s ministry will continue for everyone at 6:00 p.m. The church address is 30900 W. Six Mile Road in Livonia. Please RSVP with Margaret Trombley at 248-561-6825.
The farewell and retirement celebration for the Rev. Duane Miller, superintendent of the Detroit East District, is scheduled for Sunday, May 15, at Troy: First UMC. All are welcome to a brief worship service to begin at 3:00 p.m. The celebration of Rev. Miller’s ministry will continue from 4:00-6:00 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and dessert. The church address is 6363 Livernois in Troy. Please contact Cecelia Tolliver in the Detroit East District office to indicate your attendance.
The Conference Leadership Team has announced the names of the six districts of the Detroit Conference that will take effect on July 1, 2011. The re-naming of districts is necessary due to the elimination of a district as a result of action taken by the 2010 annual conference session. 
As part of the new district boundaries, determined by Michigan Area Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton, the current Detroit East and Detroit West Districts were combined into a new district that encompasses the Metro Detroit region. The name of the new district will be the Detroit Renaissance District
The offices of the Detroit Renaissance District will be housed in Detroit: Metropolitan UMC where the current offices of the Detroit East District are located. The Rev. Melanie Carey, lead pastor at Ypsilanti: First UMC, has been appointed as the superintendent of the district, effective July 1. She will be replacing the Rev. Duane Miller and the Rev. Dr. John Lee, superintendents of the Detroit East and Detroit West Districts, respectively. Both are retiring as of July 1. 
Of the five remaining districts, two districts will undergo a name change, while the other three will remain unchanged. The Port Huron District will become the Blue Water District, while the Flint District will be renamed the Crossroads District. The Ann Arbor District, Marquette District, and Saginaw Bay District will keep their current names.
The action passed by the 2010 annual conference stated:
"Be it resolved that the number of districts comprising the Detroit Annual Conference be reduced from seven to six, effective no later than July 1, 2011. Pursuant to ¶415.4 of the Discipline, the resident bishop shall determine the boundaries of the new districts, after which the conference leadership team shall name them."
Following the provisions of the legislation passed at the annual conference session, the boundaries of the new districts were determined by Keaton and announced on January 12 (read the story). The Conference Leadership Team was granted authority to name the new districts, which it did in consultation with the superintendent and leadership from each district (read the story).
As part of the renaming process, the Leadership Team invited district leaders to respond to a series of questions related to geography, mission, and direction of ministry designed to help each district name and claim their individual identities. Each district was directed to report back to the Leadership Team feedback on the questions as well as the preferred name options for their district. The Leadership Team voted to accept the name requests of the six districts and did not make any changes.
Michael Clark, conference lay leader, and the Rev. Dr. Jerry DeVine, conference director of connectional ministries, issued a joint statement regarding the naming of the districts, saying that "after open discussion, the Conference Leadership Team voted to accept the requests of the six district teams rather than altering or substituting other names. Each district superintendent and their respective leadership teams are now responsible for sharing the rationale of the choice that they proposed. Any questions related to the process used by the Conference Leadership Team can be sent to the Director of Connectional Ministries."
In proposing a change to its name, the rationale submitted by the Port Huron District stated: "The Port Huron District does not represent the entire district ably. The rest of the district is basically composed of small farming communities and is not connected with Port Huron at all. One area all of the district has in common is the Blue Water of Lake Huron."
As part of its rationale for changing its name to the Crossroads District, the Flint District wrote: "This name reflects the geographical intersections of the major physical highways that crisscross our District. This name also reflects the connectedness of churches within our District, many of whom are at or will be at major crossroads in their ministries."
The three districts retaining their current names all felt that their names were adequate descriptions in their new configurations. In addition, all three districts indicated that the cost and time of altering legal documents, publications and signs did not merit a name change.
With the naming of the districts, the legislation passed by the 2010 annual conference session has been fulfilled.