The Parish Development team is committed to strengthening the Cooperative Parish in the West Virginia Annual Conference.
This team plans and promotes experiences and events within the annual conference for the purpose of developing a spirit of mission in our Cooperative Parishes.
Contact Thomasina Stewart, Parish Development Coordinator, for more information.
Parish Development held their first event: Better Together in CommUnity
Video presentations and handouts may be found by clicking this link:
The Cooperative Parish affirms and enhances the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church.
It serves as a channel of communication between local churches within each district.
The Cooperative Parish is as a means by which the West Virginia Conference can accomplish missional goals which might otherwise be impossible.
A Historical Perspective:
The Cooperative Parish movement has had a long and interesting history in West Virginia. It grew out of the cooperative ministry experiments in the fifties, which developed in many rural areas across the church.
In 1963 Bishop Fred G. Holloway appointed a Conference Committee on Strategy to study the needs of the people and churches in West Virginia. This “Blue Ribbon” committee presented their report, A Blueprint of Strategy to the 1964 Annual Conference, which gave the report strong approval. It was that report that provided the Conference with the legislation that marked the beginning of a concerted effort to organize all of the churches of the Conference into Cooperative Parishes.
The basic concern of the Conference in adopting this ‘strategy’ was to strengthen the large number of small membership churches in West Virginia through shared resources and ministry in the mission of the Church. They key proposal of the report said, ‘that the pattern of the cooperative parish be established throughout the Conference and that every church and pastor of the Conference become a participant in this plan.”
The result of this strategy over these last 53 years has greatly exceeded the finest dreams of those who developed and established this ‘strategy’ for the future of the United Methodist Church in West Virginia Conference. Many of our churches, both small and large, and our pastors have experienced the strength and support of the Cooperative Parish. and the wider opportunities for ministry it offers.