On Friday, June 17, the New England Conference ordained seven elders and commissioned the same number of provisional elders.
In his sermon, Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar told them: “Pack Your Bags.”
To illustrate the theme of his sermon, the bishop talked about the suitcase he carried when he first came to the United States in 1978. The 20-kilos in the suitcase and some cash were all he brought with him.
“Of course I had to pack, unpack, and repack, so I would not leave behind the important things I needed for the journey to this unknown destination,” Bishop Devadhar said.
Bishop Devadhar preached on Joshua 1: 1-11, God’s commission to Joshua to cross the Jordan and take the land given to the people of Israel.
“Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged.?God, your God, is with you every step you take."?
“Some of you, as you face ordination or commissioning, are wondering what lies ahead as you prepare to go into your churches, perhaps for a long time, and why Bishop is reminding you to ‘pack your bags,’” Bishop Devadhar said.
“As people with Wesleyan DNA, the call of Charles Wesley to ‘serve the present age,’ is almost surreal. To serve the present age – to have the needed provisions for our survival and effective ministry on a daily basis – is the urgency of our ministry and mission,” the bishop said. “Packing, unpacking, and repacking in the context of our daily ministry settings, without shelving what we learned in our theological studies, is a must.”
Bishop Devadhar told the ordinands and commissioners that even as the world is becoming post-Christian and “changing at the speed of light,” he believes that this “is a great time to be in any kind of ministry.”
“As you return to your mission stations, you may wonder what it is that we need to pack to equip ourselves for a journey that leads us to the new Promised Land of our time, as we strive for the reign of God in our midst, filled with the compassion and love of Christ, and moved and guided by the Holy Spirit every step of the journey,” the bishop said. “I cannot give it to you … you need to discern it with deep prayer, love for Christ, and dependence on the Holy Spirit, always glorifying our Creator God!”
“As we journey together, as partners in ministry, as clergy and laity,” the bishop said, “it is my hope and prayer today that we will ask God prayerfully to show us what we need to pack, unpack, or repack to be powerful disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Being ordained were:
Song Bok (Bob) Jon
Geisa Y. Matos-Machuca
Shandirai Kare Tendekai Mawokomatanda
Patricia Ruth Peña
Angela Lynn Rotherham
Being commissioned were:
Stephen Alan Dale
Kathleen Mary Decker Szakas
Rachel Elizabeth Fraumann
Marcelo Damasceno Gomes
Shannon Diana Keeney
Zachary Lee Harrison Kerzee
Myung Eun Park
Guest bishops participating in the service were: retired United Methodist Bishops S. Clifton Ives, Susan Hassinger and Violet Fisher; Korean Methodist Church Bishops Jin-Hung Kim and Yang-Hee Chung, and Bishop A. Robert Hirschfeld, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire.