Bishop ordains and commissions 17 pastors
June 7, 2017
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, left, shares a blessing with the Rev. Selena Johnson during the ordination service.
By Erik Alsgaard
The image of bread was central in the message given to those commissioned, ordained and readmitted June 1, as Bishop LaTrelle Easterling presided at her first such worship service.
The bishop commissioned one person a Deacon, nine people as provisional Elder, and ordained eight as Elder with full membership into the conference. One person was readmitted to the Order of Elders.
Bishop Ernest S. Lyght, retired, preached on Luke 11:5-13, where a friend goes to a neighbor and asks for bread at midnight, and Exodus 16:1-4, where God provided manna to the Israelites while they were in the wilderness.
“What unites us?” the bishop asked. “It is Jesus Christ, who is the bread of life.”
God fed the children of Israel, Bishop Lyght said, but God did it on a daily basis. No leftovers, he said; God fed manna and even gave them water every day. That way, he said, the bread was always fresh.
“We pray, ‘Lord, give us our daily bread,’” Lyght said. When people come to the church, they are fully expecting to find fresh bread: a faith community, not a doubt community, Lyght said, that has confidence in the future and that will have confidence in everyone.
“Is that the kind of community that your church is?” the bishop asked.
Too often, however, Bishop Lyght said, people find stale bread. “They find warmed-over bread, or they find no bread at all,” he said.
Bishop Lyght, preaching just days before Pentecost – the day the church celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit – said that clergy and laity need to be touched by the Holy Spirit on a regular basis.
“Bishop Easterling is going to touch you tonight,” Bishop Lyght said to the candidates, “and maybe one more time after that. I want you to be touched by the Holy Spirit… but it isn’t enough. You need to be touched by the Holy Spirit over and over and over again. Because it doesn’t last.”
Why, the bishop asked.
“Because you and I are so ornery,” he said to laughter. “We’ve run the Holy Spirit right out of us. We need to be touched one more time.”
The Holy Spirit, he said, is a force that unites us.
“What is it that unites us?” he asked. “That which unites us is Jesus Christ. Therefore, brothers and sisters, keep the bread fresh. Jesus is the real bread and the real bread comes from God who loves us. The bread of life is what people need. What do we have to offer? It’s not the preacher, it’s not the choir, it’s Jesus. Offer them Christ. Keep it fresh. Keep it fresh.”
The offering during ordination went to provide scholarships for young people to attend ROCK, the annual life-changing youth retreat held in Ocean City, Md. That offering totaled $4,075.
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