Three superintendents installed
This fall, three superintendents assumed leadership of districts throughout the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
On Sept. 23, the Rev. Cynthia Moore was installed as leader of the Greater Washington District with assurances that United Methodists will live fully in the promises of God. The Rev. Evan Young was welcomed into the Annapolis District Sept. 30 with symbols of how the people from his district will be reaching out to those currently beyond church walls, and the Rev. William Chaney took the reins of the Baltimore Metropolitan District with promises of a Christ-empowered future, after feeding 1,000 people the week of his welcome Oct. 7.
A superintendent loves God and demonstrates this in the way they walk through each day, Bishop Marcus Matthews said at each of the services. They know who they are and who God has called them to be; they love the church and are people, the bishop said, to whom he would trust his life.
Moore, Young and Chaney, who will serve as extensions of the bishop’s office, each personify those traits, said Matthews.
Rev. Cynthia M. Moore – Greater Washington District
Moore, whose district met at First UMC in Hyattsville, centered the service around Jesus’ promise to his disciples that they would do even greater things than he so that God might be glorified.
“All the works that the Gospel recorded Jesus did, through the grace of God, we can do that and more,” she said. To assist the people of the Greater Washington District in this, Moore promised to hold the laity and clergy accountable to remembering what they believe.
“Some of us are troubled because they think there is a plan to close certain churches. Do you believe that all the best and worst of man can’t change the master plan – it’s God’s and God’s alone,” she said.
She also called upon those who are afraid that some things are going to die, on people who are concerned that their pastors can’t lead, that the church is not diverse or truly inclusive, and on those who might doubt her leadership.
She invited these people to remember that they believe Jesus is the resurrection and the life; that God’s grace is sufficient, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person availeth much and that the power and unity of the Holy Spirit is ours to claims.
“There is a prediction that a death tsunami is about to overtake this denomination. Do you believe that Jesus said to the winds and waves, “Peace be still,” Moore asked. “I’m inviting you to choose to cooperate with the grace of God and do greater things in the name of Jesus so that people will look at what where’ doing, and say, what a great God they serve.”
She invited all present at the service to discover what greater works God has in store for them and then to act. “God is dying to use us to show off who God is,” Moore concluded.
Rev. Evan D. Young - Annapolis District
Many of the people at Calvary UMC who welcomed the Rev. Evan Young as superintendent brought forward symbols from the Annapolis District representing the people the church has yet to reach.
They brought these symbols, which included Barbie Dolls and beach balls, a light house, an empty coffee cup and much more, to the altar at Young’s invitation.
Prior to his installation, Young had ridden through the Annapolis District on his bike. During the tour, he was struck by the neighborhoods surrounding each of the United Methodist churches and how the lives of the people within them might be enriched by a relationship with Christ.
“Often, we’re so locked up in our churches we forget our call and our purpose. We miss the big picture of what God is trying to say to us,” Young said.
During his sermon at the installation service, Young called on those present to pay attention to “the big picture.”
“Our challenge,” he said, “is to see the big picture God has for us. “It’s not about us. The big picture is all about Jesus. The big picture is about people and help them to see Jesus walking in their midst. … God has invited us into the common purpose of creating God picture of ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ … People’s lives are dependent on our witness to Jesus Christ.”
Rev. William T. Chaney - Baltimore Metropolitan District
Ushering in a new age of passion for mission and ministry in Baltimore, Rev. William Chaney and the churches of the Baltimore Metropolitan District fed more than 1,000 people in the week leading up to the superintendent’s installation at Metropolitan UMC.
Chaney opened the service with vibrant music and dancing and then began to talk about the heart. In an average day, he said, the average heart beats 100,000 times, pumping 2,000 gallons of blood. When your heart beats, it is an indication that your body is strong and all is well.
Organizations, churches and cities also have heartbeats Chaney said. But when he asked people, “what is the heartbeat of Baltimore,” all they could talk about was the city “back in the day.”
This nostalgia for when many of the city’s churches had well over 1,000 members needs to be put aside in favor of a new heart beat – one that focuses on the homeless, those living with HIV/AIDS, school children who find impossible to graduate high school, the working poor and the unchurched.
“I would like to suggest that we are being set up to be the agents of transformation and grace in the Baltimore Metropolitan District,” he said. “We are uniquely positioned and gifted to face the difficult challenges facing this city, county and our churches.”
Chaney proposed a three-point vision: “Tranform. Impact. Excel.” He encouraged United Methodists to be a people who pray, sacrifice ourselves so that we may serve and we believe that the best is yet to come.”