Celebration of Ministry observed as a gala this year
Day two of the 2016 Annual Conference ended with an electrifying Celebration of Ministry Gala, which mirrored the Academy Awards. This celebration included gold BobbleWebbs, musical transitions between recognitions, and envelopes with the names of those recognized.
Cornerstone District Superintendent the Rev. Sherri Rood and Adirondack District Superintendent the Rev. Bill Mudge hosted the Gala. An ongoing debate between the co-hosts about the appropriate attire for the gala added humor to the event. Rev. Mudge wore a suit, and Rev. Rood changed her outfit four times in between recognitions, until she finally wore what Rev. Mudge agreed was “gala-appropriate.” At one point, Rev. Mudge wore a plastic hard hat, saying he chose to wear it because ministry is “hard.”
The celebration recognized newly certified lay ministers, newly licensed local pastors, ordained elders, ordained deacons, those commissioned to perform the ministry of an elder, those commissioned to perform the ministry of a deacon, and retirees.
Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb and Conference Lay Leader Dr. Scott Johnson addressed the newly ordained, asking them the historic questions for admission into full connection and ordination.
“They have a wealth of life experience,” he said. “They have been serving congregations, some for a number of years. They are Godly men and women, faithful disciples of Jesus Christ … tomorrow will be a great day, as each of you are ordained, but there is one last hoop that you have to jump through … the historical questions. Questions like: How is it with your soul? What temptations were you faced with since we were last gathered? What sins have you committed since we were last together? Those are deep questions.”
The retirees received lifetime achievement awards, presented by the Rev. Holly Nye, co-chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry.
“In total, 862 years of ministry are represented by the group this year,” she said.
These following clergy retirees were recognized:
- Rev. Donald Alexander
- Rev. Viki Andrews
- Rev. Nancy Araujo
- Rev. Jane Baker
- Rev. Edward Bennett
- Rev. Theodore Bleck-Doran
- Rev. Beth Bouwens
- Rev. Michael Breunig
- Rev. Carl Chamberlain
- Rev. Daniel Corretore
- Rev. William Delia
- Rev. Jacob Denny
- Rev. Nancy Dulkis
- Rev. Mona Fargo
- Rev. Bruce Fish
- Rev. Dean Flemming
- Rev. Robert Franke
- Rev. Brian Gould
- Rev. Penelope Hart
- Rev. Margaret Hutchins
- Rev. Steven Ingerson
- Rev. David Lockwood
- Rev. Thomas Mott
- Rev. Duane Priset
- Rev. Jay Roberts
- Rev. Ellen Robinson
- Rev. Mariana Rodriguez
- Rev. Jan McClary Rowell
- Rev. Jane Sautter
- Rev. Dale Schneeberger
- Rev. Margaret Scott
- Rev. Barbara Silk
- Rev. Gail Wilson
- Rev. Carl Phillip Young
- Rev. Henry Frueh
Outstanding ministry awards were also presented at the Gala.
The One Matters Discipleship Award was created in 2015 to lift up churches that have, in recent years, moved from zero baptisms and zero professions of faith into positive numbers as they focus on intentional discipleship. This year’s recipient was the Hilton United Methodist Church. In addition to a plaque, the church received $1,000 to encourage the continuation of their work in discipleship.
The Harry Denman Evangelism Award – presented each year one clergyperson and one lay person in each annual conference whose “exceptional ministry of evangelism brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ” – recipients were announced.
The laity recipient was Shari Schuck, who has helped more than 275 young people in grades 6-12 connect with at least one aspect of ministry there, while also shepherding over 50 adult leaders who have helped lead in some aspect of youth ministry.
The clergy recipient was the Rev. Joseph Pascoe, who has worked as a chaplain in jails and led youth retreats, men’s retreats, local church events, and prison ministry. Under his leadership and service, the churches he has served have all grown exponentially, drawing people from the community and beyond.
The gala ended with a celebration of Bishop Webb and his leadership since joining the Upper New York Conference four years ago. His wife Jodi, and sons Tyler and Ben, joined him on the stage. A video played illustrating Bishop Webb’s vast involvement throughout the Conference, from visiting congregations and food pantries to auctioning off cups of coffee at the 2015 Annual Conference session.
The Rev. Rebecca Laird – pastor at the Cicero UMC and The ROAD – cited the beginning of Bishop Webb’s ministry as bishop, which began “on July 19, 2012 at 4:26 p.m. The next day, he received a call from the Rev. Dave Masland – a member of the Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee and the UNY Director of New Faith Communities – who told Bishop Webb his assignment: the Upper New York Conference.
“During these past four years, Bishop Webb has preached in over 100 of our churches, commissioned and ordained dozens and dozens of our pastors, presided over five sessions of Annual Conference – including this one – logged thousands of miles going east and west on I-90, north and south on I-81 and I-87, and every other direction on countless highways, streets, and back roads,” Rev. Laird said. “He’s trudged through over 400 inches of snow. He’s rocked with our youth at Up!Word and celebrated with our clergy about to retire.”
“He’s prayed and dreamed and planned with us and for us. He’s been our guide, our co-worker, and our friend. In short, he’s been our bishop,” she said
Bishop Webb was presented a Ticketmaster gift card as an expression of the Conference’s gratitude.
The celebration’s offering was dedicated to the 2017 Mission of Peace.