Designated Religious Persons


A highlight of the Annual Conference Session is always the celebration of ministry service. This year three deacons were ordained, eight elders were ordained, an associate member was received, and nine were commissioned as provisional members. 

Bishop Susan Candea brought greetings on behalf of the Central State Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which includes Kansas and Missouri. 

“My presence is an incarnation and witness that we are united in Christ,” Candea said. “Together, we can be witnesses of the radical love of God that is so desperately needed. I’m here to be a witness of the radical love of Jesus to the word.”

Missouri Bishop Robert Farr pointed out that Bishop Candea has a special connection to the service: As her daughter-in-law, Rev. Mona Candea was ordained as a deacon that morning. 

Bishop Leonard Fairley of the Louisville Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church brought the message for the service. He said that God is still in the business of calling people into ministry. That call wouldn’t be easy, but nothing would be impossible if followed. 

Bishop Fairley told of a keepsake from a confirmation retreat he participated in that bore the initials DRP for Designated Religious Person. He recalled one of those DRPs, a neighbor named Miss Amelia. She taught him and his four brothers Bible verses in her home and then taught them a song. She wanted to take them to church to sing the song, but his mother said she didn’t want them to be laughed at for what they wore. So, Miss Amelia bought him and his brothers their first suits. 

“We must have looked like the Jackson Five walking into that church,” he said. 

Bishop Fairley asked those gathered to close their eyes and remember people who believed in them when no one else believed. 

For advice to the ordinands and commissioned, he said a district superintendent told him once that you’re not the pastor until the folk say so. That tends to happen when you have shepherded them, grieved with them.

He told those on stage that, no pressure, but the best years of the United Methodist Church are in front of us, not behind us, and it is up to them to make it happen. 

He then reminded everyone at the service that they weren’t off the hook. Every Christian shares the responsibility of inviting people to the table who otherwise would never come. 

“Every last one of you sitting out here, the Lord has work for you to do,” Bishop Fairley said. “Here I am, Lord, send me.”

The offering collected during the Celebration of Ministry service on Sunday morning was for the Mozambique Initiative to aid in the effort to provide parsonages with solar power in areas where they don’t have access to electricity. $22,443.49 was given. 


Deacons are called by God to a lifetime ministry of Word, Service, Compassion and Justice. These persons 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. 


Elders are called 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. 


The United Methodist Church requires a provisional period of at least two years before ordination. These commissioned persons will serve under appointment by the bishop and learn and grow as residents in ministry in preparation for ordination. 


Associate members have served at least four years as a licensed local pastor, have completed Course of Study or a Master of Divinity, and are now recognized as associate members to serve as full clergy in the itinerant ministry of the Church under appointments by the bishop.