LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – The takeaway phrase for the first day of Annual Conference 2022 belonged to Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett:
"It is always the right season to make disciples.”
In her first Holston Annual Conference as presiding bishop, Wallace-Padgett preached at tonight's Ordination of Service and Commissioning. She said the church is currently in a “blustery winter season,” referring to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and the possibility that some churches will disaffiliate from the denomination.
“It’s been coming for a while and we’re right in the midst of it,” she said, adding “there is a sense of loss and sense of pain and sense that we are in a hard season.”
As United Methodists representing about 840 local churches gathered in Lake Junaluska June 5 for a meeting that continues through June 8, the credentialing of clergy during the opening worship service was an upbeat way to begin.
Speaking to clergy recognized during the service, Wallace-Padgett said “you’re like signs of spring to us.” Referring to Acts 2:46-47, she asked worshipers to commit to praying together and to prepare for the Holy Spirit.
“Will we watch and wait for God’s Holy Spirit to break into our lives and into our church?” she asked.
“And for you being credentialed, I hope you leave this service with one take-home: It is always, always the right season to make disciples, and that includes in a time in the church that is challenging, ever-changing, stormy, tumultuous, uncertain and hard.”
Sunday night's worship music was provided by the Knoxville Opera Gospel Choir, including multiethnic singers and instrumentalists from Knox, Blount, and surrounding counties in East Tennessee.
The following persons were celebrated during worship:
Commissioned as deaconess: Margaret Frazier
Licensed as local pastors: Jason Mullins, Randy Mutter, Ryan Shelton, Shane Wallace, Melissa Barrett, Dalton Richardson, Tim Strange, Rick Clark, Natalie Drummond, Bill Showman, Bruce Bayless, Brian Scott Burnette, Rusty Glasgow, Kelly Ann Acuff
Recognized as associate members: Denna Marie Hornby, Corey Douglas Miller
Commissioned as provisional elders: Mary Grace Clark, Matthew Ray Wright, Jacob William Countiss
Commissioned as provisional deacons: Andrew James Barton, Sabine Marie Collins
Ordained as elders: Bradley Steven Brown, Andrew Curtis Lay, William Ryan Ford, David William Payne, Timothy Duane Hale, Alexander Phillip Thompson, Stephen Harris Hopkins
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.
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