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Relationships vital to life and faith, ordinands told

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Twenty-four men and women responded to God’s call to set-apart ministry, and were celebrated by their colleagues and loved ones at a worship service held June 3 at Glen Mar UMC in Ellicott City.

During the service, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling prayed over and blessed the nine Elders and three Deacons to be commissioned as provisional members; and the nine Elders and three Deacons who knelt to be ordained.

The Rev. Antoine "Tony" Love, who serves as assistant to Bishop Easterling, delivered the sermon, citing 2 Timothy 4:9-18.

The title of the sermon, he said, came from the prophetesses Beyonce’ Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams, also known as Destiny’s Child, who released a song entitled “Say My Name, Say My Name.”

In this passage, Love said, Paul was facing certain death by execution. He was tired, weary, and worn – abandoned and deserted. He asked Timothy, a young pastor, to bring him three things: his cloak, his parchments, and John Mark.

The cloak, Love said, was the one Paul wore during his dramatic conversion on the Damascus Road. It was a cloak of conversion – a symbol of a man who was transformed by the Spirit from persecutor to preacher, from a convictor to a converter, from the lost to the found. “A cloak that symbolized his past, but also spoke of his new beginning, his birth.”

The scrolls and parchments Paul requested included passages of the Hebrew Bible and, probably, notes from his own faith journey, his testimony and story.

And finally, Love said, Paul asked for John Mark, the evangelist, who had joined Paul and Barnabas in their endeavors. The two had fallen out. but Scripture says Paul called for John Mark because he believed John Mark would be good for the ministry’s furtherance and success. However, that wasn’t the whole reason. Love said that, over years of ministry, he had learned that “in life and faith, it’s all about relationships.”

The reality is that “John Mark is a reminder to Paul of the great and awesome God he serves,” Love said. “Life will present each of us with times when we need another to make it along this journey. … Given the world we live in, we need to be able to call upon the names that remind us of things – to remind us of the fact that God is able to do more than we can think, or ask, or imagine.”

In a spirited litany, Love said the names of people who bring life to him and his ministry. He said the names of people who remind him that God is able, that God is with us, and then, he said the names of each of the commissioners and ordinands.

“Siblings, he told them, “there are times in life and in faith when we all need relationships that help us make it through. My prayer for you, my sisters and brothers, to be ordained, commissioned and recognized this evening, is that the life you live, the service that you give, the witness you provide, the testimony you are still writing, and the ministry you offer will be for someone the very comfort, encouragement, inspiration, assurance, the joy, hope, peace and blessing they need. And by saying your name, because of the relationship shared or experienced, the investment made, it will be enough of a reminder to help them stay steady, hold on, and keep the faith.”

As part of the worship, all those present reaffirmed their baptism and common call to ministry. An offering was also taken  and $1,110 was collected to provide support for clergy, providing care and wellness resources as pastors deal with the challenges of leading in this third year of the pandemic.

The service closed with an altar call for those who may be experiencing a call to ministry, and the newly ordained Tara Cressler “TC” Morrow pronounced the benediction.

As part of the proceedings, the Rev. SungHwan (Steven) Cho was presented for Recognition of Orders in The United Methodist Church. 

The 2022 Class of Provisional members include:
Deacons:  Marjorie Hurder Buhrman, Matthew Sichel, and Kristin Weschler.
Elders: Charles Anderson-Gray, Dawn Brooks-Tharp, Jonathan Rikard Brown, Joshua Gillen, Dionne Therese Hall, YouJung Jung, Bernardo Lourenco, Darryl Mason, and Daein Park.

 The 2022 Ordination Class Members include:
Deacons: Megan Blanchard, Kathleen Grace Charters, Tara C. Morrow.
Elders: Sherwyn Benjamin, Ian Christopher Collier Lynne Humphries-Russ, Heerak Kim, Dong Eun Lee, Jean H. Lee, Isaiah Redd, Sr., Matthew Paul Tate, Jeffrey J. Zalatoris.