Beginnings & Endings


Transitions in ministry were recognized for more than 100 persons during a special commissioning and memorial worship service Saturday morning. The Glory Revival band, representing three churches in the Kansas City area, provided the worship music.

During the time of remembrance, the lives of clergy, clergy spouses and Mozambique clergy and spouses were celebrated. Bishop Bob Farr welcomed the families of clergy and clergy spouses who had died during the preceding year. As a bell tolled, John Wright named each deceased Missouri Conference Clergy person. They are:

Missouri Conference Clergy: Elbridge W. Bartley, Jr.,; Benjamin E. Broaden; Leland E. Butler; Gailya R. Dow; Vergil R. Eaton; Leo Wesley House III; Gloria E. Jones; Darrell Edwin McFarland; John Carroll Montgomery, Jr.; Janet J. Morgan; Ronald Evan Page; George Thomas Poe; James Martin Shemwell; Harry H. Smith, Jr.; and Margie Sue McDaniel Woods. Diaconal Minister: Betty Jane Gnaegy.

Following the time of remembrance, 45 persons who have completed licensed local pastor school in 2016 and 2017 were brought on stage for recognition. “It is a great honor to be a licensed local pastor.” He recalled the time early in his ministry when he served as a licensed local pastor. “The highest honor, in my opinion, is to be called a pastor,” he said.

Six local pastors who have completed the five-year course of study were then recognized and commissioned. They are: Lora Cunningham, Sharon Freeman, Dwight Gressel, Wally Jones, Keith Scarborough and Linda Wansing. One was commissioned as a United Methodist Missionary. People who were Licensed as Local Pastors in 2016 and 2017. Candidates commissioned as provisional members and an associate member. Pastors who have completed their Course of Study.

Joanne Davis was commissioned to continue her work as a church and community worker in Berkley, West Virginia. In addition to Bishop Farr, Una Jones, Mission Volunteer Director for the General Board of Global Ministries participated in the commissioning.

A special offering was taken to support vulnerable refugee and immigrant communities. It will be distributed through the Mission, Service and Justice Team. The Glory Revival praise band performed “So Sings My Soul, Rejoice” as the offering was gathered.

Marsha West Eichler was then presented for commissioning as an Associate Member of the Annual Conference.

Fourteen candidates were then presented for commissioning as Provisional Members. Bruce Baxter introduced each of the candidates. They are: Adrienne Denson, Jessica Brooke Foster, Maggie Gann, Letisha Green, R. Scott Griffin, Steven Russell Jones, Kristofer Keller, Angela Colina McNeil, Kimberly Anne Mitchell, Steven R. Mitchell, Adam Lawton Mustoe, Jacob Martin Schneider, Mary T. Weaver and Jeffrey Williams.

A retiring pastor and members of the new class then participated in the passing of the mantle, to signify the transfer of ministry from one generation to another. Bishop Farr placed the mantle upon Creighton Cox, who is retiring this year. He in turn removed the mantle and placed it on the shoulders of Marsha West Eichler. This ritual is based on the Book of Kings when the Prophet Elijah transferred his ministry to his protégé, Elisha. A mantle, symbolic of submission to God, was placed upon Elisha, and the spirit of Elijah rested upon Elisha.

The service closed with the assembly singing the Doxology, fitting praise for the many who transitioned in their ministry this day.