Drew Announcement of “Yoked” Appointment

September 16, 2012
Dear Theo Community:
I would like you to know that the Rev. Dr. Michael J. Christensen of Drew University will be appointed Senior Pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Berkeley, California, beginning November 1, 2012. According to Bishop Warner Brown of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, where Dr. Christensen’s conference membership resides, this pastoral assignment will be a “yoked appointment” with Dr. Christensen’s current appointment as International Director of Communities of Shalom at Drew Theological School.
 A “yoked appointment” in The United Methodist Church is a way to describe a Bishop’s appointment of  an ordained minister to more than one charge, or to two ministries integrally related. In this case, Dr. Christensen’s first charge remains as Director of Communities of Shalom at Drew, and his second charge will be as Senior Pastor of the Epworth Church on a less than full-time basis.
Over the last three months, I have had the opportunity to work creatively with Bishop Brown to facilitate this mid-year appointment for the Epworth Church. This opportunity first surfaced when I attended the Annual Conference Session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference in June and was approached by Bishop Brown to explore such a “yoked appointment” with him.
As many of you know, Dr. Christensen has been at Drew for almost 20 years, first as a doctoral student in the Graduate School, then as a senior administrator and affiliate professor. From 1995-2007 he served as the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program. In 2008 he became the International Director of the Communities of Shalom Initiative, a program of The United Methodist Church now housed at Drew. Dr. Christensen has been the face of the Shalom Initiative and provided the key leadership to grow the program both nationally and internationally since its move to Drew in 2008 (see the recent United Methodist News Service feature on Communities of Shalom: Practicing Shalom for 20 Years .
When Bishop Brown first approached me to explore this opportunity, he expressed not only his strong desire to bring Shalom to his Annual Conference but also his confidence that Dr. Christensen is the right person to lead the Epworth Church at this point in its history. Likewise, Dr. Christensen is opened to such a creative appointment because, in his own words, “the Epworth Church is an important, prophetic, reconciling congregation with significant local community and international ministries. It has a strong lay leadership team and multiple staff that makes it possible to be their lead pastor while continuing to provide leadership of Communities of Shalom internationally.”
Dr. Christensen, Bishop Brown and I have worked out the framework and timing of such a “yoked appointment” that will be mutually beneficial to the Shalom Initiative, the Epworth Church, and Dr. Christensen. Please join me in extending our blessings and best wishes to Dr. Christensen as he begins this next phase of his ministry.
Jeffrey Kuan 

Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Hebrew Bible
The Theological School
Drew University
36 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ 07940
Email: jkuan@drew.edu
Voice: 973-408-3258
Cell: 973-886-4995
Fax: 973-408-3534
Webpage: http://www.drew.edu/theological

“Only a life lived for others is worth living.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The church is the church only when it exists for others.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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