Service for the Commission and Ordination of Elders and Deacons
Tuesday Evening, June 18
By Rev. Lisa Morrison
“They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all they do, they prosper.” Psalm 1:3
As we continue to reflect upon our theme of being “Planted in the Past, Rooted in the Future”, Tuesday evening’s worship service for the Commission and Ordination of Elders and Deacons celebrated a “Springing forth to bloom.” Five bishops, the Board of Ordained Ministry, district superintendents, clergy, laity, family and friends offered support, prayer and celebration with the members of this year’s Provisional/Commissioning Class, Associate Member, and Ordinands. A palpable energy of love and support filled the air as this year’s class processed forward. After responding “yes” to God’s call to professional ministry and years of preparation, this was a special evening to gather as a community and witness to the faithfulness of God’s gifts and graces for these individuals.
It was a joy-filled worship experience as we shared in music, scripture, reflection, prayer. Bishop Hopkins sprinkled the candidates and congregation with water and reminded all present to remember our baptism and our common ministry. The congregation responded that they would uphold those being commissioned and ordained in their ministry and all candidates responded to questions of examination by the bishop.
Mark 10:35-45 was the scripture lesson and Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America delivered the sermon. Her candid style and sense of humor was balanced with her theological insight and reflection. We were encouraged to move beyond a “Name it, Claim it” theology of “Entitlement Grace” and to really lean into the depth of the cross. We were challenged to live and preach a faith that is willing to suffer; to not seek the easy road but rather to witness to the suffering in our lives. With incredible passion and conviction, Bishop Eaton compelled us to be authentic to a faith that even in the midst of deep suffering can proclaim “Hallelujah!” As we celebrate the grace that God has given to each of us, may we do so knowing that we are indeed a people of resurrection and that the gift of resurrection is always present in our lives! Hallelujah!
Hands were laid upon each individual for Commissioning and Ordination as prayer was offered. All who had been ordained formed an inner circle as they held hands and prayed in silence. Their sponsors, the Chairs of Orders and Bishop Hopkins, Bishop Eaton and Rev. Gary George formed an outer circle around them also holding hands as they offered silent prayer. A choral response of “Bind us Together” was offered as a sense of deep solidarity and collegiality filled the space.
Bishop Hopkins invited anyone feeling called to professional ministry to come forward during the Hymns of Invitation. It was a powerful witness of God’s active call in our lives to see people come forth and be greeted by and prayed for by members of the Board of Ordained Ministry.
Andy Call led all in a Congregational Response of a spirit filled, hand clapping “I Know the Lord Has Laid His Hands on Me.” From the beginning of the worship service, to its dismissal, we celebrated God’s call in each and every one of our lives.
We celebrate those newly commissioned and ordained and continue to pray for their ministry. Congratulations to those newly commissioned Deacons: Carrie Antczak, Amy Braun, and Karol Lewis. Congratulations to those newly commissioned Elders: Daniel B. Baer, Patrice Brewer, Byron Bufkin, Tina Gallagher, David Hull-Frye, Justin Jump. Derek Kubilus, Janelle Kurtz, Matthew Laferty, Lisa-Marie Morrison, Jonathan Priebe, Ronald Shultz, Samuel Troyer, David Whitt, Jonathan Wilterdink, Catherine Wilterdink and Lu Ann Youngman. We recognize and celebrate Everett Stoddard as Associate Member. We congratulate our newly ordained Deacon Mary Blank as well as our newly ordained Elders Paula Archdeacon, Adam Davis, Lenore Robinson and Susan Stevens.