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The service for the Ordering of Ministry for the 2014 Annual Conference Session celebrated the recognition, commission and ordination of 26 individuals, opening with O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing and Joy to the World.
Bishop Linda Lee, Bishop-in-Residence at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, offered the sermon for the service.
An Invitation to Imagine from Joel 2 was read by Sarah Stevens, Field Outreach Minister for the Northwest District and Worship Coordinator of the Annual Conference Session.
“You will eat abundantly and be satisfied,” she said. “And you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has done wonders for you …”
The Call to Worship had the Conference chant, “Come Holy Spirit,” in response.
Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble led the Remembrance of Baptism.
“Send your Spirit among us to enliven our praise,” said the Bishop.
Baptized in Water, Sealed by the Spirit followed.
Dave Decker, Conference Lay Leader, and Rev. Barrie Tritle, Board of Ministry Chair, presented the persons to be recognized, commissioned and ordained.
“These persons are by God’s Grace to be recognized, commissioned, or ordained to ministry in Christ’s holy church,” said Bishop Trimble.
After asking the Conference to declare assent, the Bishop performed the General Examination.
Recognition of Completion of Course of Study and Associate Members followed, before the Examination of Persons Being Commissioned and the Prayer of Commissioning.
Trinity UMC/Las Americas Comunidad de Fe presented the Scripture Acts 2: 1-24, 38-41 via prerecorded video.
“We honor that day when the comforter Jesus promised and the power he told the disciples to wait for, were poured out into the world,” said Bishop Lee in her sermon.
It is no small matter to be ordained, commissioned, licensed or otherwise confirmed by the church for the work on ministry on this Pentecost Sunday, she said.
“Ordination to this ministry is a gift from God to the church,” said Bishop Lee. “Those who answer the call to ordained ministry have given themselves to leadership through ministries of service, Word, sacrament, order, compassion and justice.”
The world is in need today of undeniable verification that God is indeed in our midst and that God’s power is still at work, she said.
“We are living in a time when a new depth of witness to the power of God’s presence in the work is deeply necessary,” Bishop Lee said. “There is hope that the church will be a place where people work together even when they disagree or have different cultural backgrounds or different theological understandings.”
It’s important to hold on to hope, said Bishop Lee, for what God is doing and about to do in and through us.
Times are different from Joel’s point in history, but human beings are very much the same, she said. Some people back then and now have seen the power of God, she continued, and the world is in need of a fresh outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit today.
Bishop Lee said the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit is being poured out today in the midst of social upheavals, political corruption, violence of systems and war.
“The Holy Spirit is moving in our time,” Bishop Lee said.
She told the Conference that each of us has something within us that God needs to pour into the world through us.
“We are called to pour out our gifts because in doing so the power of God is made known and people hear and understand in their own language,” said Bishop Lee. “They understand what is possible for them, for their loved ones, for all people.”
This is what Jesus did, she said, Jesus poured out all he had.
“O, you may not preach like Peter, and you may not pray like Paul,” Bishop Lee said, quoting the hymn There is a Balm Gilead. “But just tell the love of Jesus and say he died for all.”
“Pour out the gifts God has given you,” she continued. “Don’t worry about trying to do it like anybody else. Pour out your praise and your love to God, and others will be inspired to stand up and to offer their little light to the world.”
There is a cost, Bishop Lee said, but no matter the cost, it is worth it.
“You are the light of the world. Pour it out!” Bishop Lee concluded. “Let it shine! This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”
Examination of Deacons followed the Message from Bishop Lee.
“Will you give yourself to God through the order of deacons in order to sustain and build each other up in prayer, study and worship?” asked Bishop Trimble.
Laying On of Hands and the Prayer for Deacons then took place.
Examination of Elders was next.
“Do you believe that God has called you to the life and work of an elder” the Bishop asked?
Next were the Laying On of Hands and Prayer for Elders.
“As these persons are recognized or ordained by God and the church for the ministry of elders to which we believe they have been called by the Holy Spirit, let us pray for them,” Bishop Trimble said.
An offering was received to support Justice For Our Neighbors, during which Tumishayi Dance Ministry performed.
Holly Communion was shared by the Conference and a Prayer After Receiving was offered.
Bishop Trimble concluded the service by the Dismissal with Blessing.
“We are sent in God’s name,” Bishop Trimble said. “Thanks be to God.”
Individuals recognized as course of study graduates: Karen Berg, Barbara Joy and Sue Ann Cubbage.
Recognized as an associate member: James Buckhahn, Deborah Parkison.
Commissioned for the work of a deacon: Kendra Swartzendruber
Commissioned for the work of an elder: Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, Ricky Baarda, Heather Dorr, Jennifer Hibben, Franklin Livingston, Craig Lutrell, Keven Moore, Eric Sayonkon, Michael Slininger.
Ordained as deacons: Tyler Schwaller, Tracey Burgus
Ordained as elders: Benjamin Blanchard, Ronald Bupp, Allen Coffin, Collette Gould, Sarah Karber, Jacqueline Thompson, Brody Tubaugh, LanatteVan, Karen Young