Service Recognizes Local Pastors


By Susan Sneed

There are many types of pastors in United Methodism. The process of being commissioned and then later ordained into full connection as an elder or deacon is one of the highlights of annual conference. But other types of ministers are serving in increasingly numerous and important roles in Missouri Conference churches. This year at annual conference people achieving new levels of credentials in the areas of CLM, LLP and COS were honored in a special service of recognition. 

Rev. Charlene Dart, a local pastor who serves Cassidy UMC, preached on 1 John 3:18-19.

“We don’t just get comfortable in our ministry,” she said. “We box it all up, doing it the same way over and over, and we have complete control. But what if we step out of the box?” Churches tend to find a comfortable place and when ministry stops bearing fruit, the tendency is to go back to the box, back to what birthed and maintained the ministry in the first place.

“Change is hard, it’s risky and we lose control, but it may be God’s will.” She recounted how the medical mission trip to Puerto Rico she took changed to a construction trip, from leaving one day to another day, and from visiting a smaller island to the main island. Despite the whole trip being out of control, trusting in God brought the team to exactly where it needed to be. 

Rev. Charlene Dart preaching“Are we willing to be the optimist in change, to create new places for new people?” She reminded the Conference that there are people just hanging out, in a comfortable box of familiarity, and the work of the church suffers. 

“I believe God has a great treasure in store for his church,” said Dart. “It is his church, not our church.  We have to do and stop talking. We must be out touching lives. Are we willing to do this? If we are not willing to go outside the doors, we have lost. God will give us the vision we need and being to act on it.”

She stressed the Great Commission to go out and reach new people and trust that new ways will present themselves to do so. Do not go back to the old ways, the comfortable ways. God will supply that new vision and a path to fulfill it. 

Rev. Karen Hayden, director of the Center for Leadership Excellence, presented the new Certified Lay Ministers: Bob Beaver, Jodi Burch, Karen Jones and Peggy Thomas.

Rev. Jim Barnett, Wesley (St. Joseph) recognized the 35 newly Licensed Local Pastors: Erika Braun, Blake Buchanan, Joshua Buchanan, Mary Ann Cieslak, Michael Cole, Vicki Coons, Amy Cornelius, Shaun Courtney, Candace Fowler, Jeff Fugit, Angel Garcia, Fabian Gomez Gonzalez, Andrew Hake, David Hedrick, Cathy Hinklin, Kim Holman, Chris Jackson, David Jerome, Matt Kelley, Lori Kiehl, James King, Jayne Markin, Timothy Melin, Tom Parks, Tricia Quist, Brett Reith, Kenneth Rosenauer, Ryan Schreckenghaust, Elizabeth Jen Shelton, Poese Vatikani, Paullester Walker, Kara Wilson, Diannah White, Keyarae Yi and Timothy Zych.
Barnett recognized those who have completed the Course of Study required for Licensed Local Pastors: Jeffory Cole, Nancy DeJager, Mark Hansche, Kirby Holbrook, Bill LaMora and Sherri Swanson.