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5K Walk/Run, 7:00 a.m., Lakeside
Morning Worship and Offering, 9:00 a.m., Hoover Auditorium
The Central Avenue Church Worship Team led the Annual Conference musically during its worship Tuesday morning. Church planters Rev. Daniel Hughes, Rev. Daniel Kim, Rev. Carrie Jena, and Rev. Wayne Botkin brought the message. Their focus lifted up stories of the Gospel illustrating differences that new church starts can make in communities—especially communities that have yet to be reached by Christ shaped healing and hope. Bishop Palmer explained the purpose and potential of the offering that was received. This ongoing appeal is to resource efforts to refocus, realign, and revitalize churches within the bounds of West Ohio. Bishop Ntambo prayed for this offering. Bishop Palmer closed the service with prayer.
Coffee with Cynthia: If Only, 10:00 a.m., Wesley Lodge
Mrs. Cynthia Palmer hosted 125 clergy spouses and shared "if only" stories from her life to introduce her bible study series for clergy spouses based on the book "If" by Mark Batterson. If...that tiny two-letter word ....is the hinge on the door of possibilities. Some of us are stuck in if only, living lives marked by regret. But God can turn your if only regrets into a what if attitude, a faith that looks forward to the future with holy confidence. There are 1,784 ifs in the Bible. The most significant? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” It’s the game changer! God is always on our side—every day, in every way. Participants at the coffee were each provided a visor with "What If" embroidered and district superintendent spouses and Mrs. Palmer modeled new "If" t-shirts.
Business Session, 10:50 a.m., Hoover Auditorium
During the morning session, Bishop Ntambo Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda of the North Katanga Conference was honored on his retirement. Bishop Palmer and Rev. Dee Stickley-Minor joined Ntambo on stage as the conference recognized him for his long partnership with West Ohio and historical and life-changing contributions to the lives of the people of the North Katanga area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Business Session, 1:30 p.m., Hoover Auditorium
The International Child Care Report was presented as well as the Board of Ordained Ministry Report. During the Board of Ordained Ministry report, Bishop Palmer brought the crowd to its feet during the asking of Wesley’s historic questions for the new ordination class.
The Bishop called the newly ordained and commissioned deacons and elders to remain joyful in their ministry and keep the faith in Christ. “The twinkle you see in these saints’ eyes,” Bishop Palmer said, “two years from now we will feel like it’s a victory for God if that twinkle was still in your eyes.”
Rev. April Casperson was announced as the new chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, the first time a person of color and the first time a Deacon would serve West Ohio in that position. Rev. Kathleen Brown was introduced to the conference as the new Director of the Office of Ministry, following Rev. Wade Giffin who has received an appointment to Trinity United Methodist Church in Columbus.
Celebration of Ministry, 4:30 p.m., Hoover Auditorium
As Andrew Willis played “Lift High the Cross” on the organ, clergy being commissioned and ordained and their families along with those retiring processed into Hoover Auditorium. The past, present, and the future of the church come together each year at the Celebration of Ministry service during Annual Conference. The worship service honors those deacons and elders who are part of the retiring class as well as those being commissioned and ordained.
Rusty Eshleman sang “I Give Myself Away” by William McDowell and Bishop Palmer preached a sermon entitled, “It’s a Gift Not An Achievement” with the scripture focus being I Corinthians 4:1-13. He called the ordination class to remember their baptism and to remember that ministry and life in the church is a gift and not an achievement.
“You are still under the authority of your baptism and that was your first calling…. What do you have that’s not a gift? Baptism, salvation, anything you’ve done in the life of the church,” Palmer pronounced.
As the classes of commissioned and ordained deacons and elders crossed the Hoover stage one by one to receive their sending forth, that gift of ministry was renewed. And the charge was given to the newly ordained and commissioned to be stewards and servants for Jesus and for the church. Thirty-eight retirees were honored marking over 870 years of service. In this year when we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women, fourteen of the retirees were women.
Four Provisional Deacons and fourteen Provisional Elders were commissioned and eighteen Elders were ordained, with eleven of those being ordained women.
Joining Bishop Palmer in these special moments were two colleagues, Bishop Peggy A. Johnson from the Philadelphia Episcopal Area and Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo from the North Katanga Episcopal Area.
As the message was preached and an offering taken, as questions were asked and commitments affirmed, as hands were laid on and songs sung, and as prayers were whispered and shouted, the sunlight streamed into the Auditorium.
With the Dismissal: “Go in peace to serve God and your neighbor in all you do. Go in grace to become the beloved community in the world. Thanks be to God! Amen,” the postlude sent us forward into a beautiful evening of continuing celebration and gracious thankfulness.
Evening Festivities, 8:00 p.m.
The annual Rock the Dock held in the Circle by the Pavilion by the lake engaged conference attendees of all ages to enjoy an evening of music and dancing while many also attended private receptions for those ordained and commissioned. An ice cream social was held simultaneously on the lawn at Hotel Lakeside in honor of Bishop Ntambo.
Writers: Cyndy Garn, Alan Sippel, Matt Yoder
Editor: Lisa Streight