Rev. Carlos Rosa-Laguer installed as the Niagara Frontier District Superintendent
On Sunday September 16, 2018 at Batavia First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Carlos Rosa-Laguer was officially installed as the District Superintendent (DS) of the Niagara Frontier District. Well over 200 clergy and lay members throughout the Upper New York Conference attended the service, including several members of Rochester’s Emmanuel UMC were Rev. Rosa-Laguer previously served as pastor.
In the service, Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb said, “When I begin to pray about who God is calling to fulfill the role of District Superintendent, I look for someone first and foremost who has a deep spirituality, who has a passionate, growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I look for someone who gets the mission of the Church, who understands the purpose of a life in Christ.
I look for someone who has proven to be a leader and through God’s power has born fruit in that leadership. I look for someone who will help others recognize God’s spirit in them and equip them to use those gifts for the work of the Church.
I look for someone who is able to be amidst diversity…
I look for someone who is humble. I found that those who are humble in their service of Christ risk much for the sake of Jesus.
I feel that the person God has called to be the District Superintendent for the Niagara Frontier District this season, possesses all those qualities. Carlos is a gift to us and do the Church and I’m grateful that has he and Marta (Rev. Rosa-Laguer’s wife) discerned whether this really was God’s call that the spirit spoke to them and said ‘Yes.’ And then they said, ‘Here we are oh God, use us.’
When Rev. Carlos M. Rosa-Laguer received the invitation from the Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb to become the Niagara Frontier’s District Superintendent (DS), an image of a creek came to his mind, followed by an image of streams, and finally an image of a river came to his mind.
The Rev. Rosa-Laguer envisioned Jesus as living water flowing through his heart and accepted the invitation.
Rev. Rosa-Laguer values cross-cultural relationships as was evident in the reading of Psalm 95: 1-3 In four different languages at his installation service. Diane Thurlow read the scripture in English. Christopher Kim read the passage in Korean. Benjamin Matta Jr. read the scripture in Spanish, and Sekuye Bolende read the verses in Swahili.
The theme of the installation was centered on the images that came to Rev. Rosa-Laguer’s mind upon being invited to serve as the Niagara Frontier DS.
Praise songs, scriptures, and Rev. Rosa-Laguer’s sermon referred to the renewing power of Jesus as living water.
The primary scripture that served as a foundation to Rev. Rosa-Laguer’s sermon was John 7:37-39:
“All who are thirsty should come to me!
All who believe in me should drink!
As the scriptures said concerning me,
Rivers of living water will flow out from within him.”
In his sermon, entitled “Creek, Streams, a River,” Rev. Rosa-Laguer spoke passionately about the attendees’ role to the Church; in a loud, projecting voice, he said, “As pastors, as lay-members, we need to make the decision to be more like our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Rev. Rosa-Laguer continued, “Here in the Upper New York Annual Conference, we are creeks; we are streams; we are the river of the living God. We are called to work together.”
Rev. Rosa-Laguer explained that living water is a matter of the heart. He said, “We are in the spiritual business. If you think this is a matter of the mind, look around. My Lord and Savior said this is a matter of my heart. Because God works through our hearts, not through our minds.”
Rev. Rosa-Laguer offered challenges to the crowd; “I challenge you my folks to be a river of peace. I challenge you my brothers and sisters—let us renew our passion for Christ. I challenge you to here and now reclaim our heritage as the people with the crying hearts! Brothers and sisters of the Niagara Frontier District let us live for his will…live for his spirit. We are creeks; we are streams; yes, brothers and sisters of the Niagara Frontier District, we are the river, the river of love.”
The praise song, The River of God, was performed by guitarist Mary Johnson at the beginning and end of the service—attendees danced as they sung the lyrics,
“I'm running to the river I'm going back to the river of the Lord
Take me back to the river
Where I first believed
Take me back to that moment
Where freedom I received
Heaven knows where I would be
If it wasn't for Your mercy
My sins are now forgotten
Yet You remember me.”
In his benediction, Rev. Rosa-Laguer urged attendees to see themselves as more than the hands and feet of God. He said, “We are the hands, feet, heart, ears and smile of Jesus.” He then invited everyone to attend a celebration dinner in Fellowship Hall where members of his family served a delicious Puerto Rican meal.