The 2016 Upper New York Annual Conference ends with the Service of Ordination and Commissioning
Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb ended the 2016 session of Annual Conference with the Service of Ordination and Commissioning.
This year there was a diverse age range in those being both ordained and commissioned. There were seven ordinates; the youngest was 29 and the oldest was 63, with 48 being the average age of the group. There were four commissioners; the youngest was 26 and the oldest was 60, with the average age being 41.
The seven ordinates were:
- Pamela R. Carey
- Gail Ann Falsetti
- Matthew French
- John Paul Loeser
- Rachel Ann Morse
- Mary Grace Rublee
- Andrew Peter Sperry
The four commissioners were:
- Stephanie Jo Brown
- Susan Marie Ranous
- Kevin Duane Slough
- Paul D. Winkelman
Bishop Webb’s Ordination sermon concentrated on three commitments for ordinands , commissioners, and the entire crowd to make in order to follow God’s calling.
Commitment # 1: Trust the one who calls
Bishop Webb spoke of how people often question or doubt when they receive a call from God, responding, “Are you sure? I don’t think you have the right person. There must be a better plan.”
Bishop Webb said that in order to trust God more deeply, members of the church needed to come to know God more completely, to “allow God to push you into the depths of who God is.” Bishop Webb continued, “God desires people – The Church needs leaders who trust the one who calls - People who are seeking God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength. God is not calling us to be professional Christians, God is calling us to be people who are radical in our pursuit of God and because of that pursuit God will use us to radically change the world in the name of Jesus!”
Commitment # 2: Trust the sufficiency of the one who calls
Bishop Webb’s main point regarding this commitment was that God is enough! He said, “Our degrees, our credentials, our skills, our abilities, our strategies, our ideas, [and] our agendas will never be enough! Our leadership will always fall short, our sermons will often fall flat, and our good intentions will still miss the mark. But, God is enough! God has given us everything we need to accomplish this task of being the Church in the midst of dark and desperate world.” Bishop Webb said that if the people of the church truly believed in the sufficiency of God, “we would more boldly share our faith stories, we would more freely give of our resources – we would not be struggling with how to carry out all that we believe God is calling us to, rather we would be carrying it out in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.” Bishop Webb ended his point by asking those about to be commissioned and ordained to lead the members of the Church in trusting the sufficiency of the One who calls.
Commitment # 3; Trust the promise of completion
In discussing this commitment, Bishop Webb encouraged the ordinates, commissioners, and the entire crowd not to forget that the work God has begun in them will be completed, no matter what. He shared stories from the bible, where even when individuals were “down to nothing,” God was “up to something.” For example, he shared the story of Job who lost his livestock, children, and his wealth. However, God’s faith in Job and Job’s faith in God defeated Satan in a classic spiritual battle. God ended up restoring double-fold what Job had lost.
Bishop Webb ended his sermon by saying how proud he was of the ordinates and commissioners. He said “You have been called; you have been and will be equipped. The work God has begun in you will be completed.”
As Bishop Webb ordained and commissioned each person, he prayed for them alongside their family members. This service was a powerful reminder to all of God’s nudging. Individuals in the crowd who were feeling God’s nudge to become leaders in the church were encouraged to come forward and speak with current clergy about their calling.