As part of the worldwide United Methodist Church, our Grace Church organizational structure is rooted in denominational guidelines and requirements.
Our pastors are appointed by the Bishop of the Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, through a careful and thorough process of discernment.
Our congregation, under the prayerful guidance and nurture of our pastors, governs the policies and operation of our local Church following the guidelines in the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church. Members of our congregation are nominated in accordance with their gifts, talents and experience to fill various leadership positions of specified terms. Nominations are made by our Committee on Lay Leadership.
Nominations and other matters for churchwide consideration are acted upon by vote of the membership at our annual Church Conference. The Church Conference is the foremost voice of the local Church. All our Church members are invited to attend and vote at Church Conference.
Our organizational structure reflects not a strict hierarchy but rather the many cooperative relationships and intersecting responsibilities necessary to facilitate the Christ-honoring life of a large and diverse Church body. To better prepare for the ministry challenges and opportunities ahead, we are also engaged in an ongoing process of re-framing and streamlining how things work.
The Administrative Council functions as the administrative agency of the Church Conference, meeting quarterly and at other times as needed between Church Conferences. Specific duties of the Administrative Council are: reviewing our Church membership; filling vacancies occurring among lay officers between Church Conferences; establishing our budget on recommendation of the Committee on Finance; establishing pastoral salaries based on recommendation of the Staff Parish Relations Committee; and making administrative decisions between sessions of Church Conference. The Administrative Council is composed of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, a Lay Leader, the Staff Parish Relations Committee Chair or Representative, the Finance Committee Chair or Representative, the Board of Trustees Chair or Representative, the Church Treasurer, a Lay Member to Annual Conference, the Visioning & Ministry Council Chair, a United Methodist Women Representative, a Youth Representative, our Pastors, our affiliated corporation Chairpersons (God’s Little Ones and C.A.R.E.S.), and three Members at Large.
The Visioning & Ministry Council is our primary arena for visioning and strategic planning, meeting to confer, discuss and plan implementation of ministries. This Council gathers at least four times each year. All oral reporting at the Council is to address future planning and programming. The Visioning & Ministry Council is composed of leaders representing our various ministry areas, including the Chairs and Team Leaders of our Outreach Ministry Area, our Caring Ministry Area, our Worship Ministry Area, our Fellowship Ministry Area, our Discipleship Ministry Area, and our Christian Education Ministry Area, the Team Leader of our Information Systems Group, our Children’s Ministry Coordinator, our Youth Ministry Coordinator, our Lay Ministry Coordinator, and our Adult Discipleship Coordinator.
Our Board of Trustees oversees the care of our buildings and property.
Our standing committees address their specifically stated responsibilities, such as our Committees on Staff-Parish Relations, Lay Leadership and Finance.
The Ministry Areas (Outreach, Caring, Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship and Christian Education) each establish Servant Teams as needed to accomplish their ministry goals. Servant Team Leaders are elected at Church Conference along with other Church officers. Members of the Servant Teams are enlisted by the Team Leaders and members of the relevant Ministry Area.
Occasionally ad hoc committees or temporary task forces are formed to address emerging issues or other special circumstances.
Individual leadership positions include: Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons and Leaders of the various Councils, Boards, Ministry Areas and Servant Teams; Lay Leaders; Lay Members to Annual Conference and Alternates; Representative to Carlisle Area Religious Council; Church Historian; Camping Coordinator; Communications Coordinator; Higher Education & Campus Ministries Coordinators; and both paid and volunteer staff.
Additionally, we have dozens of independently functioning groups, ministries and projects operating under our Grace Church umbrella, many with their own internally recognized leadership structures of varying formality. These can often represent very large and complex initiatives in the unfolding story of our congregation, such as our Capital Campaigns, Visioning/Natural Church Development, and Master Plan for Ministry.
And while much of the important and life-changing work of the Church is accomplished through our formal and informal organizational structures, the rapidly changing realities of our world and the ever-present movement of God’s Holy Spirit necessitate that other aspects of our vital work are sometimes accomplished outside the parameters of any structure, often by empowered and inspired lay people acting in response to the urgent call of God upon their hearts. We affirm and celebrate all those who lead with integrity and faithfully serve Christ through our congregation.