By Jessica Connor
FLORENCE—Reminding them that love is at the crux of their call to ministry, Bishop Jonathan Holston commissioned and ordained two associate members, four provisional deacons, 13 provisional elders and 16 elders at Annual Conference June 10.
Preaching on What's Love Got to Do With It? Holston told the group of 35 that there has been someone in this room who has loved each and every one of them, and cared for them and prayed for them.
God found something in you and called to you, and you were able to hear that word and yet stepped out into a world you didn t even know, and now you re here, Holston said.
He told them love has absolutely everything to do with their call and the work that will consume the rest of their lives.
God s love and mercy desires something more than just doing the right thing, being in the right place; it calls us to understand God s unconditional love for each and every one of us, Holston said. You must love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself, and my friends, that is what you re called to you.
You will be in places that test your love, he said, but push on “ keep love at the core, and everything will work out just as God intended.
Holston shared a story about a group of girls at a middle school who every day would paint on heavy lipstick and then plant bright lip prints on the bathroom mirror, which created a lot of work for the school custodian.
Finally, the principal decided to call the girls all together. She introduced them to the custodian, Miss Bessie Thompson. Then she turned to the girls and said, I wanted you all to know that this is our custodian, and I want you to know she cleans these mirrors. Miss Thompson, will you please show them how?
Miss Thompson took her squeegee, dipped it into the toilet, and she went to work and cleaned those mirrors. And from that point on, there were no more lip prints.
It seems the information delivered allowed them to make an informed decision, Holston said wryly.
That story illustrates what he hopes the new members, provisional and elders will remember, he said: Like the school principal, they are helping people make an informed decision about their lives “ by offering Christ.
He also reminded the group that everything points to God.
It s not our church; it s God s church. Not our people; they are God s people. And God loves us regardless of who we are, regardless of all our spots and blemishes, whatever they may be, Holston said. God looks beyond our faults and sees our needs.
Always remember whose you are, he urged.
Your calling you need not be scared of, because love will be in the midst of your heart, and everything that matters will be cast out, he said.
Elected as associate members for service within the annual conference were Daniel Ray Smyth and Myrna Kay Westfall.
Commissioned as provisional deacons for service within the conference were Adrienne Hamm Fink, Bernett William Mazyck, Martha Ann Nichols and Margaret Hughey Wilkes.
Commissioned as provisional elders for service were Yon Taek Bae, Frances Sarah Connell, Jerry Lewis Dicks, Robert Fritzgerald Gilbert, Jonathan David Harris, Laura Allen Kerlin, Kevin Bruce Lindley, Troy Lane Metzner, Blondell Stephenson Miller, Christopher Lee Thompson, James Elbert Williams and Joseph Alva Wilson II.
Ordained as elders were Laura Ramsey Bratton, Donald Ralph Brown, Michelle Dellinger Cockcroft, Jason Daniel Everson, Fadetra Deonka Harrington, Judith Ann Knox, Alice Elaine MacKeil, David Dean McManus Jr., Kurt Anthony McPherson, Richard Hancock Reams, Davie Demetrius Sanders Jr., Frederick Johnson Shepard, Steven Paul Simoneaux Jr., Scott Walter Smoak, Ryan Greasor Spurrier and Calvin Burdell Washington.