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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Bishop Steiner Ball speaks at the AC2019 Service of Commissioning and Ordination

    June 13, 2019 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    The 2019 Upper New York Annual Conference concluded with the Service of Commissioning and Ordination; seven individuals were commissioned as Elders; three individuals were ordained as Deacons; and five individuals were ordained as Elders.

    The following individuals were Commissioned for the Work of an Elder:

    • Natalie Ora Bowerman
    • Casey Edward Bradley
    • Bryant Christopher Clark
    • Brett William Johnson
    • Jongdeok Park
    • Cindy L. Schulte
    • Grace Elisabeth Warren

    The following individuals were Ordained to the Order of Deacon:

    • Rebecca Guthrie
    • Kristin Lee Helms
    • Susan Marie Ranous

    To following individuals were Ordained to the Order of Elder:

    • Anna Kathryn Blinn Cole
    • Patricia M. Hubman
    • Marilyn Jane Kasperek
    • Eunice Sun Ae Kim
    • David Bradley McKinney

    Upper New York had the honor to have Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball of the West Virginia Conference deliver the message during this service.

    When introducing Bishop Steiner Ball, Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb said, “She is a person who passionately loves Jesus Christ.  She loves the Church and has committed her life to the Church.  She loves the people that God has called her to serve.  Both the people who are in the Church and those who are not yet a part of the Church.  She is a person of high integrity, great passion, and deep spirituality.  I am blessed to consider her a trusted colleague, a dear friend and Sister in Christ. “

    Bishop Steiner Ball’s message was entitled, “An extraordinary, challenging journey.” The scripture she highlighted in her message was Mark 4:35-41 where Jesus calms the storm for his disciples who were traveling by boat after a long day of teaching and learning with mostly Jewish crowds along the Sea of Galilee. They were then traveling to an area they were more than likely uncomfortable with because they would be going to an area with a high concentration of Gentiles.

    The disciples were forced to do exactly what the message of this year’s Annual Conference tells us to do, “Moving Beyond Our Comfort Zone.” God had called them to bring their extraordinarily Good News to the other side where more people needed to hear it. And they did so during a frightening, heavy storm.

    Bishop Steiner Ball described this process as “crossing over.” And she likened ordination to crossing over.

    The disciples were petrified as their boat filled with water. Bishop Steiner Ball said, “Waves beat into the boat; they have water up to their ankles. This is a literal and spiritual storm. This is serious. At least four of the disciples, have accomplished more than just their residency and master’s degree, they have their professional degrees – they are professional fishermen and even they are scared – experiencing anxiety, panic, dread. Fear of what they do know and fear of what they do not know.

    The disciples do what we do when we find ourselves overwhelmed – They yell, ‘God, for heaven's sake, wake up!’ They do what we do when bad things happen to good people. They ask, Are you really there God?’ And what they discover is that God is there. Right in the boat, in scariest place, God is there. After they have tried everything they turn to Jesus, he is there, and he is able.”

    Jesus calmed the storm. He said, “Peace Be Still.” Bishop Steiner Ball said, “The wind and the storm stopped and there was absolute calm.”

    She assured the commissioners and ordinands that this absolute calm is available to them. She said, “It is about leaving the familiar and following Christ into new and unfamiliar territory. At times, it may appear to us that God is sleeping and not paying attention to our plight, but God does care.  God cares so much for each of our troubles, our worries, our anxieties, our spats, our health, and our minds, that God can and will calm the storm and say with authority, ‘Peace Be Still’ and the cosmos will obey. When you are in the midst of a crossing with the all-powerful, almighty God, you can go with confidence to the other side! You can take a message of extraordinary hope, peace, assurance, and comfort to those around you who need it so badly! You now are sent to inspire and care for others.”

    At the end of Bishop Steiner Ball’s message, Bishop Webb called people attending the service to come forward for prayer and guidance if they feel as though they are being called to step beyond their comfort zones, to step into the boat of becoming a pastor.

    TAGGED / Annual Conference 2019


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."