Celebrating the Appointment of the Rev. Everett J. Bassett as Superintendent of the Oneonta District
Picture Morris UMC’s performance of Sister Act or the 40 Easter baskets they put together for local children. Visualize firemen joining the Unadilla UMC for Halloween or Schuyler Lake UMC’s Mittens in Mission Ministry and Crockpot Food Ministry. Imagine the Mount Upton UMC at the Chenango County Fair or the Hartwick UMC’s Christmas ride. These are just some of the dozens of photos shown in a slideshow celebrating the Oneonta District churches at the Sept. 18 installation service held at Elm Park UMC for the Oneonta’s new District Superintendent, the Rev. Everett Bassett. Wonderful events and ministries will continue to happen in the Oneonta District under Rev. Bassett’s leadership.
At this service, Bishop Mark J. Webb introduced Rev. Bassett to the crowd of well over 100 clergy and laity from across the UNY Conference. Bishop Webb said, “One of the more sobering responsibilities of the Office of the Bishop is the selection and appointment of District Superintendents. Superintendents are assigned to Districts, but in reality, they are Superintendents of the whole Conference, critical leaders, helping the whole of the Annual Conference live the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Bishop Webb went on to describe the characteristics he looks for in a Superintendent; he said, “I look for someone who is vibrant, passionate, spiritual, who has a deep connection to Jesus Christ, who gets the mission, who understands the purpose of the Church, and who has held themselves accountable for fulfilling the purpose. I look for someone who is a proven leader with a track record of equipping others to use the gifts God has given them, who is respected by colleagues, and who is humble yet willing to take a risk…I can say with confidence that Rev. Everett Bassett possesses all of these characteristics so it gives me great pleasure to officially welcome Rev. Everett Bassett as the District Superintendent of the Oneonta District.”
Everyone in the sanctuary affirmed Bishop Webb’s welcoming of Rev. Bassett with a standing ovation, clapping, and cheering. Once the crowd was seated, Bishop Webb led the Covenant Service, followed by several clergy presenting the signs of District Superintendency, official steps involved in the appointment of a District Superintendent.
Following his introduction Rev. Bassett was quick to point out that while used to preaching every Sunday for 40 years, he has only preached once in the past 15 weeks. His delivery was nonetheless phenomenal.
He began his sermon, entitled “Under Siege, Under Grace” by describing incidences of siege happening cross the globe right now. He zeroed in on Syria, where one million people are living under siege at the moment. He added, “And a quarter million of those people are kids.”
Rev. Bassett compared the situation in Syria with Jeremiah’s time, when he was imprisoned while Jerusalem was under siege. He said, “Siege is the cruelest of military tactics; the purposes is to produce hopelessness and suffering. While in prison, Jeremiah was asked to send his relatives to buy real estate. Who would do that in a land under siege? But Jeremiah was given the message that “houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.” This was a sign of grace.
Rev. Bassett powerfully ended his sermon by reminding everyone that “God can do amazing thigs when people to choose to live under grace instead of siege.” He referred to the fact that siege can be real and it can be symbolic; he said, “People can feel besieged economically, by our government, and many other examples.” Rev. Bassett encouraged people to have hope, to experience God’s grace and not allow siege to take control.
The service ended with a creative musical response performed by the Oneonta District Sacred Dance Ensemble comprised of young children and adults, including Rev. Bassett’s wife, Sharon Bassett. The choreography was flawless and the young girls and women, dressed in white shirts and black slacks demonstrated grace for sure.
After the service, all were invited to the dinner reception in fellowship hall. This potluck dinner included close to 100 dishes with many options for vegetarians and those on a gluten-free diet.
The installation service for Rev. Bassett was a magnificent celebration!