Deacons, Elders Welcomed into Full Connection
The Service of Ordination is a highlight of the Annual Conference Session for many people each year and not just people who are close to those being ordained. It is a sacred time of welcoming disciples into a lifetime of ministry after having completed years of preparation.
This year the service was held in downtown Columbia at Missouri UMC, a historic church that had hosted ordination services prior to Annual Conference Session being conducted in Springfield.
Rev. Michael McIntyre, lead pastor of Wesley UMC in Springfield, was the preacher for the service. He opened with Colossians 3: 10-13, keying in on verse 12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
He noted that the Annual Conference theme, Kindom, and the word kin, comes from the same root as kind.
“To treat people with kindness is to treat them as kin – accepted, appreciated not just welcome but wanted and included,” he said. He said followers of Christ should be so kind that people don’t know if they should be called followers of Christ or followers of kindness.
“When it comes to ministry, you need to allow kindness to direct you in how to love… ” he said. “I’ve heard unkind words spoken and unkind things done in the name of love. People justify their own ugliness in the name of love, and to try to fix them we treat them with disrespect, justify with tough love. When we chose kindness we can’t be hurtful to one another.”
McIntyre said he was good at loving people who loved him back, but being a follower of Christ calls people to something more.
“We’re called to live a life that demands gospel explanation,” he said. “‘Why is he so weird? Why is he so kind?’ We should live our lives in a way that draws attention.”
A video was shown that detailed the line of ordination from the first Methodist bishop to the current ordinands.
“It is not that far from Francis Asbury to you – 16 steps,” said Missouri Bishop Bob Farr, the presiding bishop for the ordination service. “In this line is Bishop McKendree, who started the Missouri Conference. There is also Bishop Handy, the first African American bishop in our jurisdiction and one of the first in the country.”
Deacons are called by God to a lifetime ministry of word, service, compassion and justice. They lead the church in relating the life of Christians to their ministries in the world, interrelating worship in the gathered community and service to God. This year Rev. Arden Elise Ratcliff-Mann and Rev. Meghan Ruth Riegerix were ordained deacons.
Elders are called by God to a lifetime ministry of service, word, sacrament and order. Servanthood is expressed by leading worship and prayer, administering sacraments, exercising pastoral supervision, and leading the church in mission to the world.
This year Rev. Bradley Jams Bryan, Rev. Erika Anne Gravely, Rev. Cassie Rea O’Brien Graham, Rev. Elsie Lisbeth Quintanilla-Perez, and Rev. Jacob Martin Schneider were ordained elders.