2020 UNY Service of Ordination and Commissioning takes place at Liverpool UMC
In order to prioritize the safety of all attendees during the COVID pandemic, the Upper New York Conference Service of Ordination and Commissioning was held on Oct. 2, 2020 at Liverpool U.M.C. with a limited number of invited guests. The service was livestreamed on the Conference website for the public to view.
In keeping with New York State and Conference COVID guidelines, all guests and worship participants were screened prior to entry, wore masks, and were socially distanced.
In addition to the traditional presentation, general examinations, and laying on hands that are part of the ordination and commissioning service, this service also included historic questions asked to the ordinates and commissioners. These questions are generally asked at the Service of Blessing and Anointing that takes place at Upper New York’s Annual Conferences, but due to the COVID pandemic, that service was not able to take place this year.
Upper New York Area Resident Bishop, Mark J. Webb’s sermon was on “Positioning for Ministry.”
Bishop Webb used Luke 10: 38-42 as the gospel passage for his sermon:
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things that are needed, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Bishop Webb said, “Martha spent time for Jesus and Mary spent time with Jesus.” Bishop explained to the ordinates and commissioners that they need to be like Mary—it is more important for them to keep growing close with Jesus and to continue practicing spiritual disciplines.
In order to serve others and be effective in their ministries, Bishop Webb said that the ordinates and commissioners need to “go deep into the presence of God through Jesus Christ. Your starting position always needs to be at the feet of Jesus.”
Bishop Webb said, “Your position matters. Not your position as pastor, but your position in following and serving Jesus Christ…when you choose the position of Mary first, you become equipped to do the work of Martha.”
This year, there were two individuals commissioned as Elders and three commissioned as Deacons.
Commissioned for the work of an Elder:
- Christiane Depestre
- Jee Hae Song
Commissioned for the work of a Deacon:
- Patrick James Dupont
- Theresa Louise Eggleston
- Katherine Irene Thiel
This year there were two Elder ordinates and one Deacon ordinate.
Ordinates to the Order of Elder include:
- Sung Ah Choi
- Ruth Rosa Warner
Ordinate to the Order of Deacon include:
- Nancy Elizabeth Dibelius
This year, there were also two Elders from the Korean United Methodist Church, who had their orders recognized.
- JeaHyan Kook
- Sung Jun Park
Special music was provided by soloists Nairobi O. Smith and Rev. Sung Jun Park.
The ordinates and commissioners had the choice to delay their ordination and commissioning to next year’s Annual Conference where they could be recognized with a larger audience and could invite more guests, but they all chose to be ordained and commissioned this year with the restrictions imposed by the COVID pandemic.
Despite the smaller service, Bishop Webb reminded the attendees that “The spirit of God that is here is the same spirit of God that would have been at the Oncenter with 600