Southwest District welcomes ministry team; looks to ‘open doors’

September 22, 2014

Click here to listen to Rev. Terra Amundson reflect on the Service in a conversation with Dr. Arthur McClanahan

Click here to see photos by Rev. Bill Poland

The Southwest District welcomed its ministry team on Sunday afternoon, September 14, 2014.  The “Service Celebrating the Appointment of the Southwest District Superintendent, Rev. Terra Amundson, and Field Outreach Minister, Rev. Melissa Drake, was held at the Atlantic First United Methodist Church.

“I am a person intrigued by doors,” Rev. Amundson said in her sermon for the service.  “I’ve noticed doors that are welcoming by their very nature… and I’ve seen doors, chained and locked, that seem to scream, ‘there is no place for you here.’  We are people who take doors seriously– after all, as United Methodists would claim to be people of ‘open hearts, open minds, open doors.’”

“Friends, but we have inside of us is valuable– open the doors and go. Go to give life to others. Be life for others…[be] open to the Spirit’s call, trusting that as we go out these doors into the world, we can be agents of Christ’s transformative love in the world.”

Rev. Melissa Drake created the worship order for the service.  A series of twelve doors was depicted n the front cover of the bulletin.  “Sometimes we have doors closed and we don’t even realize it,” said Rev. Amundson as she reflected on the service.  “Our call as United Methodists and all of God’s people is not only to open the doors and have people come and be with us, but also for us to go out in the world and be with them.”

Rev. Karen Nichols Dungan represented Bishop Julius Trimble at the service.  (Bishop Trimble was on his way to New York for the funeral service of Bishop Martin McLee.)  Addressing the Southwest District Ministry Team, Rev. Dungan, who is the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries, said, “Terra and Melissa, you have been appointed to be among us for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament; and called to a special ministry of leadership. You are called to guard the faith, to seek the unity, and to exercise discipline of the church, and to support the church’s life, work, and mission.” 

Rev. Dungan also invited the congregation to express its commitment to the ministries of the church and their District Ministry Team, which includes Shannon Schmitt, the District Administrative Secretary.  In one voice, the congregation said, “We welcome you. We celebrate your appointment to the Southwest District. We affirm your leadership. We pledge to you our support in mutual ministry in the name of Jesus.”

Laity and clergy presented the “signs of Pastoral Leadership” to the Team.  The signs included a Bible, water representing Baptism, the bread and cup of Communion, a hymnal and Book of Worship, a towel and basin to “be among us as one who serves,” a stole reflecting being shepherd and pastor, Book of Discipline “[to] strengthen our connections as United Methodists,” and a globe with the charge to “lead us in our mission to all the world.”

“There were clergy who have been serving a long time” who presented the signs, Rev. Amundson remembered.  “There were clergy who are fairly new.  Clergy from a place very different from Iowa.  Laity from several walks of life.  They reflected the wonderful mix and the wonderful joy of folks, from all over the district, who love God and serve God in a variety of ways.”

Rev. Bill Poland, Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, observed, “the celebration expressed very clearly that everyone is in this together, something reflected by the fact that there were members of ministry teams from other districts present for the service.”   That perspective mirrored Rev. Amundson’s invitation “to work together in shared ministries; working alone makes it difficult; working together makes it possible.”

To conclude the service Rev. Dungan invoked Bishop Trimble’s constant invitation, “’Be encouraged’ in your ministry.’”

*Dr. Arthur McClanahan, Director of Communications, and Liz Winders, Content Manager for the Communications Ministry Team, collaborated on this report.