Monday, June 18, 2012

Wednesday- Last Day of Annual Conference

Sorry to be so late getting to this. All of the business of Annual Conference was finished on Tuesday by dinner time. So, Wednesday was completely devoted to the Ordination Service and the Appointments of Pastors. The Ordination Service lasted two and one half hours. I always love the Ordination Service. Back in the dark ages, when I was ordained, we had SC Annual Conference in Spartanburg at Wofford College, but the Ordination Service was held at a local church. Of course, Annual Conference was not as big as it is now. I was ordained at the church I'm now service- Bethel UMC. I know exactly where I kneeled that night. It still gives me good bumps to walk into our sanctuary for that reason. To be ordained is to be authorized, set aside, for a specific role in the life of the church, pastor. We ordained deacons and elders. David Smith and I are both Elders. Elders are the pastors in charge of churches. Elders may do the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism and they go where the Bishop sends them. They do not choose their place of service. Deacons are pastors who serve in a number of different roles, from education to mission. They assist Elders in the Sacraments but may not do them alone. Deacons choose their own place of service and the Bishop affirms that as an extension of the ministry of the church. I still have my black and white picture of my Ordination Class hanging in my study at the church. There we are on the same stage that is in our Fellowship Hall now. Wow! Elders are authorized when the Bishop and other Elders put their hands on them and the Bishop says: "Take authority to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments. We believe that in all of our services the Holy Spirit is present in power. These who have been called to this ministry are now publicly recognized and given authority to do the work of ministry. I do regret that the service was held on a weekday morning. Many of the people who would have liked to have been there could not be because of work and other obligations. One of our own was commissioned as a Provisional Elder. Drew Martin serves as Associate Pastor at Clover First UMC in Clover, SC. Elders and Deacons are commissioned first and serve two years on trial, or probation, then they become Full Elders and Full Deacons. It is a moving and wonderful service. After the Ordination Service, the appointments are made of Elders and Deacons to their place of service. Copies of all the appointments are handed out and the Bishop then "fixes" the appointments for another Conference year. Sometimes, because of death or some other circumstance, an appointment will have to be changed. The Bishop may appoint a pastor at any time, and often does so in the middle of the year when necessary. As an Elder, it is a wonderful thing to be "sent" into ministry. We are called and the Bishop Sends us. The Bishop carries the authority of the church all the way back to the beginning of Methodism and John Wesley. The Bishop's office and ordination is an unbroken stream of ordination all the say back to the beginning of the whole church. It is a pleasure to serve the great church. What a blessing! Blessings! Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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