Two from Michigan at The Table

The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai has served on The Connectional Table since 2012. On January 23, 2018 she moves to the chair as the United Methodist Church's Chief Connectional Officer. ~umns photo

The Rev. Dr. Jerome DeVine take a place on The United Methodist Connectional Table.

Senior Editor-Writer, Michigan Conference

Rev. Dr. Jerome DeVine

The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai has gone from appointment in Michigan to serve as the Chief Connectional Officer for The United Methodist Church. And the person who is stepping into her place on the Lansing District of The Michigan Area has also been named to fill the vacancy she leaves as a member of The Connectional Table.

The Rev. Dr. Jerome (Jerry) DeVine has officially joined the Connectional Table and awaits assignment to a focus team and additional sub committees. He will serve through the present quadrennium. No stranger to the work of the Table, DeVine has acted as an “outside voice” on the CT Assessment Task Force over the past two years and has been in formal dialogue with them as a representative of the Executive Committee of the Association of Directors of Connectional Ministries.

“I have a deep calling to and life long love for our United Methodist connectional identity and fabric,” DeVine says of this appointment. “This opportunity to be in direct relationship to the wonderful CT staff and members give me great energy.” An experienced strategist and adaptive leader, DeVine’s skills will be an asset to the gifts already existing at the Connectional Table.

The presence of God-given Michigan talent at this level of United Methodist administration is not new. David Lundquist, a layman and member of Kalamazoo First United Methodist Church, looks back to an earlier era. “A the time of merger in 1968, the United Methodist Church created a new program coordinating body known as the General Council on Ministries (GCOM),” Lundquist recalls.

The GCOM functioned for 32 years. In 2004 the General Conference created The Connectional Table with similar church-wide programming responsibilities.

“During the past 45 years,” Lundquist continues, “there have been just eight Chief Executive Officers for the denomination. Of those eight “CEOs,” four have had Michigan connections:

  • Rev. Dr. Ned Dewire, Detroit Conference, GCOM General Secretary 1975-1986;
  • David Lundquist, West Michigan Conference, GCOM General Secretary 1986-2000;
  • Bishop Sharon Rader, formerly West Michigan Conference, Executive Director Connectional Table 2004-2008;
  • Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, West Michigan Conference, Chief Connectional Officer Connectional Table.

And now another leader from Michigan steps into this significant ministry. DeVine expresses gratitude for the opportunity to serve, “especially at this distinctive time in our history.”

“I like to think that the greatest asset of the Connectional Table is being able to ask of the denomination, ‘What if?’” he notes. “The CT has an incredible opportunity to invite others to dream, consider and offer solid ideas on what a new way of being The United Methodist Church might look like as we live into the future,” DeVine concluded.




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