To our Brothers and Sisters of the Free Methodist Church of Southern California (FMCSC), greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
As your appointed Superintendent Nominating Committee (SNC), we are pleased to present the nomination of Jon Sato for a four-year term as Superintendent of the FMCSC.
Jon has been an elder with FMCSC for seven years and served since 2013 in multiple roles within our conference, most recently as Interim Superintendent since June 2021. Prior to his work in the conference, Jon worked in numerous capacities in ministry at Foothill Community Church in Azusa while going to seminary. He grew up as part of the Pacific Coast Japanese Conference, where his father was a pastor. He has his M.Div from Azusa Pacific University and is completing an MBA program through Boston University. Jon and his wife Jenn have three daughters, Adeline, Charlotte, and Eleanor. We are excited to put forth Jon as a nominee and believe that his deep commitment to the FMC, unique ability to balance the administrative acumen needed for a complex organization with a deeply relational and personal approach to leadership, and his track record of empowering and equipping lay and clergy leaders is what we need for our conference to thrive and live into the Kingdom call that God has collectively given to us as the FMCSC.
According to the Book of Discipline, when a superintendent term is about to expire, a committee is formed with the responsibility of doing the necessary work to present a nominee to the Annual Conference for a vote. For the past 12 years, the FMCSC has had a three superintendent model. However, because the FMCSC Board of Administration (BOA) voted to return to a single, non-stationed Superintendent model starting at Annual Conference (May) 2022, the committee was tasked with putting forth one nominee to the conference.
In the summer of 2021, the SNC conducted listening sessions in English and Spanish with all lay and elder leadership levels to hear directly from conference leaders and create a profile to meet our conference’s unique needs and aspirations. We are thankful to all of those who were able to participate in a focus group or respond to the online survey. Your contributions were critical in the formation of a robust position profile and the interview process.
The SNC received applications from within and outside of the FMCSC. The committee then reviewed applications, interviewed references, performed background checks, evaluated qualifications, and conducted face-to-face or Zoom interviews with candidates and their spouses. Amid diverse perspectives within the SNC there has been a great sense of unity and commitment to Jon Sato as Superintendent of the FMCSC.
Prior to sending out the electronic ballots for this vote, we will host a town meeting for you to meet Jon as the Superintendent Nominee. This will take place at Light and Life Downey (9245 Florence Ave, Downey, CA 90240), Tuesday February 22 at 7pm. This event will be recorded and live streamed.
The final process occurs after the town hall when our elders and delegates vote on this before our Annual Conference. This election requires a majority of “yes” votes from elders and delegates and you will receive more information on this in the future.
We are grateful to Charles Latchison and Fraser Venter for their steadfast and excellent leadership of the conference these past four years. Thank you for your patience and prayers throughout this time and feel free to contact any of us with any questions about the process.
May our Lord, Jesus the Christ, bless you, our conference and our new Superintendent with great joy and fruitfulness during this coming season.
Bishop Matt Whitehead for the Superintendent Nominating Committee (Joshua Canada, Carol Duberowski, Hugh Linstrom, Robert Marshall, John Rittenhouse, Kelly Roth, Refugio Sanchez, Wendy Seyfert, Edward Song, and Brian Warth)