June 30, 2014

By Susan Sneed

Retirees included Diaconal Minister Mary Beth Anderson who noted that “God has forgiven the wrongs and blessed the right. AND no more paperwork!” Deaconesses Shay Blackwell and Gail Davis were noted for the ministries with the poor and with families. Deacon Janice Tucker gave thanks for the ministry she was blessed to do and the people she was able to meet. 
    
Pastors retiring included David C. Belt, Thad Carter, Arthur Ellsworth ,Peggy Eshelman, Gloria Jones, Greg Mathis, Richard McGehee, Ron McIntier, Loretta Stone, Daniel Musgrave, and Vickie Taggart. Others retiring with special words for the Conference were:
Ron Brooks: It has been an exciting life. I’m moving on to my next destination with no regrets. 

Of special note was the retirement of Rev. Ann Rathert, district superintendent of the Gateway Regional District. She walked across the stage on the arm of her husband Roger. They will be retiring to their home state of Wisconsin. 
    
“I have left part of my heart here in Missouri,” she said. “I have learned so much from all of you. I know what it means to be the church…Missouri style.” Bishop Schnase gave special recognition to Rev. Rathert for her service on the Cabinet as the Gateway Regional District Superintendent. 
    
Passing of the Mantle is a ritual illustrating the continuation of ministry, from the retirees to the provisional clergy. Representing the retirees, Rev. Rathert, and representing the provisional members, Chris Abel.
    
Rev. Mark Dumas presented the candidates being commissioned as Elder: Chris Abel, Andy Blachsher, Jennifer Moxley, Laura Murphy and Leanna Van Zandt. Those presented as candidates to be commissioned as Deacon: Kasey Beaton, Hank Jenkins, Jennifer Long, and Meghan Riegerix.