The Central New York and the Western Pennsylvania districts have taken preliminary steps to merge. On February 16, 2019, the Western Pennsylvania District conference voted to merge by a vote of 79-8. On February 23, the Central New York District conference voted to merge by a vote of 128-9.
The districts will submit a resolution to the General Board of The Wesleyan Church, requesting its approval in May 2019. Upon a favorable vote by the General Board, a merging conference will be held on June 13-14, to organize the newly formed district, including the election of a district superintendent and a district board of administration.
The newly-formed district will include the western half of Pennsylvania, all or part of five Pennsylvania northern-tier counties currently a part of the Central New York District and 20 counties in central New York. The new district will include 76 churches and a worship attendance of nearly 10,000.
District superintendent of Central New York Matthew Pickering said, “We are thankful for the Lord’s leadership so evident throughout the merger exploration and we are excited for the opportunities that combining the two districts’ pastoral teams, churches and resources will provide toward lessening the gospel gap in our region.”
Pickering has served as district superintendent of the Central New York District since 2014 and has led both districts since last summer, when Western Pennsylvania’s district superintendent, Randy Swink, retired after serving that district for 18 years.