Rev. Vonda Fossitt ignites excitement at the Genesee Valley Installation Service
On Sunday, October 2, over 200 people, young and old with great diversity, attended a service at the United Methodist Church of Webster to celebrate the Rev. Vonda Fossitt’s appointment as the Superintendent of the Genesee Valley District.
In addition to the Covenant Service that takes place when a superintendent is appointed to a district, this evening service was comprised of exceptionally energizing performances. The theme of Rev. Fossitt’s service, and the title of her sermon, was “Excellence.” And each performer certainly exemplified excellence. Each of the performers represented part of Rev. Fossitt’s faith journey.
The service opened with exhilarating praise and worship as Chad Phillips performed contemporary Christian music on an acoustic guitar. Then, the video of Canton Jones’ “Awesome Remix” was played on the big screen. This remix also included phenomenal performers Charles Jenkins, Jessica Reedy, Isaac Carree, and Da Truth, who artfully blended gospel with rap/hip hop. The upbeat performance inspired the audience to clap along.
The energy remained vibrant as Rev. Fossitt’s brother, Vincent Fossitt, performed “Amazing Grace” on the alto saxophone from the balcony at the front of the sanctuary. This performance transitioned into an amazing processional hymn.
The Voices of Unity from Buffalo Metropolitan UMC soulfully belted out “Come and Go with me to my Father’s House” as they entered the sanctuary. The entire crowd was clapping along as were the cabinet, Bishop Mark J. Webb, and Rev. Vonda Fossitt, who followed Voices of Unity into the sanctuary.
Prior to the Covenant Service, Bishop Webb introduced Rev. Fossitt. He said “We have five characteristics that District Superintendents rank themselves on. The lowest trait that District Superintendents rank themselves on is courageous leadership. Vonda raises this.”
Rev. Fossit’s leadership style was evident in her loud, projected, enthusiastic voice. When Bishop Webb began the Covenant Service and asked Rev. Fossit if she affirms her commitment to the ministry of supervision and leadership, she responded with a strong, confident, extremely loud “YES!” followed by “I affirm my commitment to these ministries in your midst.”
During the presentation of signs of District Superintendency, Rev. Fossitt’s mother, LaVerne Ampadu was the first one to present and she presented Vonda with the bible.
During her sermon, Rev. Fossit spoke about biblical figures who possessed a spirit of excellence. She referenced Daniel who was considered to have an excellent spirit, evident in the fact that King Nebuchadnezzar promoted him at an early age. To Daniel, his spirit excelled over the physical; this is why he was able to interpret dreams. The unseen was as important to him as the seen.
She also referred Deuteronomy 4 and how Moses helps us to realize that God’s grace makes it possible for everyone to be capable of excellence.
Rev. Fossitt encouraged the audience to pursue excellence for God. She used herself as an example, explaining that she chose the evening’s performers (including her mother) so that the Genesee District could see where she came from. She said, “I was groomed in excellence, starting with my mother. I was saved at Metropolitan UMC….I was commissioned by Bishop (Violet) Fisher, ordained by Bishop (Marcus) Matthews, and called by Bishop Mark Webb to go back to our mission, ‘to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.’ ”
Rev. Fossitt continued, “It’s time to go deeper. Some of us have been sitting on our gifts.” She mentioned sanctification, and explained “We have to intentionally live for God every day! You have to check yourself. It took an excellent spirit to save me from a terrible life of sickness. What God did for me, he can do for you….Our God deserves our best, our excellence. It’s time for us to press on, to take the next step. We’re the king’s kids!”
At the end of the service, when Rev. Rick LaDue of Webster UMC expressed his words of appreciation, he revealed how he met Rev. Fossit when she was a student at Colgate University. He said, “I met Vonda 12 years ago. She worked with me at a teen center. Her commitment to inner-city youth showcased her excellence then as a college student and it is amazing to see where she is today, becoming the District Superintendent of the Genesee Valley.”
For her benediction, Rev. Fossitt proclaimed, “The time is now to strive for excellence. May you look at what God needs you to do and do it with excellence!”