During an evening of celebration, members of the Baltimore-Washington Conference took time to join a wide variety of church musicians in song, to pray together, and to honor some special people whom God has called to ministry.
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling lifted up the ministries of this year’s retirees, licensed local pastors, certified lay ministers, and the Order of Deacons, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. “They are all servants of the living God,” she said.
This year, 29 clergy, representing 784 years of ordained ministry, retired from the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Throughout the evening, their district superintendents honored the retirees for their ministries and shared their varied accomplishments as story tellers, spiritual directors, re-enactors, baseball players, strategists, campus ministers, community organizers, ministers in the Deaf community, bridge-builders, healers, leaders and more.
Licensed local pastors complete a course of study and are appointed to lead congregations. This year, the BWC welcomed 13 local pastors, who are “serving with passion and acumen,” the bishop said.
Members also honored the BWC’s Certified Lay Ministers, who receive extensive training and serve on teams with clergy to provide leadership in local churches. Bishop Easterling lauded them “for strengthening our churches’ mission and ministry.”
And, the conference celebrated the BWC’s 29 deacons. Members of the Order of Deacons, which was created in 1996, are called to a ministry of word, service, compassion, and justice. “They personify the servanthood to which all Christians are called,” the bishop said.
As the celebration wound to a close, the Rev. Shannon Sullivan, pastor of Trinity UMC where the service was recorded, noted that, “As we’ve worshipped together, we’ve born witness to the very active and alive body of Christ. … Despite adversity, we stand,” she said. “Amidst conflicting voices, we transform. And, in the face of those who might falsely prophesy death, we claim and declare new life, rising – still one – in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior – forever and ever.”
“For all these persons, their ministries, gifts and service we give thanks,” the bishop prayed. “Let us love and serve the Lord.”
This year’s class of Licensed Local Pastors include:
Megan Blizzard, Dawn Brooks, Bruce Jackson, Anissa Johnson, Bruce Johnson, YouJung Jung, Peggy Ireland, Randy Keith, Darryl Mason, Will Newton, Verna Prehn, Gwen Rodriguez, and Johnnie Randolph.
The CLMs in the 2019-2021 Cohort include:
Mary Ball, Rich Barney, Kathy Cinnamond, Joseph Smith, Tammie Edmunds, Ricky Hill, Vonetta Garcia, Matthew Bowie, George Pittenger and .George Smith
This year’s clergy retirees include:
James Bishop, Mary Buzby, Clark Carr, Kathleen Cheyney, Zelda Childs, Margaret Clemons, R. David Hall, Douglas J. Hays, Lori Hoffman Hays, Margaret Hodges, Samuel Honnappa, Mark Johnson, Mary Johnson, Patricia Johnson, Sandi Johnson, Granderson Jones, Jr., Jacqueline Jones-Smith, Jeff Jones, Conrad Link, Fay Lundin, Ray McDonald, Gregory McNeil, Sheldon Reese, Theresa Robinson, Doris Jean Rothwell, Tom Sigler, Constance Smith, Ken Walker, and John C. Warren.