Rev. Michael L. Weeden celebrated as Superintendent of the Northern Flow District
October 24, 2017 / By Shannon Hodson
On October 15, 2017, nearly 200 people gathered together at the Gouverneur First UMC to celebrate the appointment of the Rev. Mike Weeden as District Superintendent of the Northern Flow District and to worship with each other on this joyous occasion.
When Upper New York Area Resident Bishop, Mark J. Webb introduced Rev. Weeden, he first described what he looks for when he is appointing a new District Superintendent. He said, “We look for someone who has deep spirituality and commitment, someone who is a leader and can produce fruits through their labor, someone who can embrace ethnic, theological, and social diversity. We look for someone who has a passion for the unity of the Church. We look for someone who is respected by their colleagues. When the announcement of the Superintendent is made, we don’t want the response of the Conference to be “Really?’ We look for a team player and someone who would never seek this role”
The Bishop continued, “It is with a sense of joy, a sense of gratitude, and a great sense of anticipation of what is to come that I announce the appointment of Mike Weeden as the District Superintendent of the Northern Flor District.” He then expressed gratefulness for Rev. Weeden and his wife Ellen for their willingness to relocate.
After the Covenant Service and the Presentation of the Signs of District Superintendency, Rev. Weeden expressed, that he is “pumped” about what God has in store for him as District Superintendent.
Rev. Weeden then delivered the message, “Dying to live,” using John 12: 20-26 as the coinciding bible reference. In this bible reference, the analogy of a wheat kernel is used to explain the importance of dying to live—if a kernel of wheat falls to the ground, it remains only a single seed, but if it dies, it produces many seeds.
Rev. Weeden explained that often we must let our own preferences die in order to fulfil the ministries that God has called for us to fulfil. He portrayed scenarios that may seem scary to some people, from inviting people different from them into their congregation to drums being played in their sanctuary. He said that the truth of the matter is that ministries succeed when “there are people who are willing to change.”
Rev, Weeden encouraged the congregation to embrace change, to be willing to let their preferences die. He said, “When you’re caught in those places where people are talking about change and you are afraid and uncertain, remember those feelings are just a story.” He reminded the crowd of God’s promise in Isaiah 41:10: "Do not be afraid I am with you.”
The offerings collected at the installation service were given to UMCOR in support of relief efforts in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Rev. Weeden exclaimed, “We want to remind people in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico that they matter!”
One of the chosen songs toward the end of the service was No Longer Slaves. The chorus reaffirmed Rev. Weeden’s message; “I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”
The service ended with Holy Communion.
Following the service, people gathered in Fellowship Hall for beautifully displayed , single-plated salads, mixed fruit, and baked goods, along with punch.