New England Conference celebrates Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
August 29, 2016
A Service of Celebration and Farewell for Bishop LaTrelle Easterling took place Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016 at Lexington United Methodist Church Massachusetts.
Bishop Easterling served as superintendent of the Metro Boston Hope District prior to her election to the episcopacy on July 14.
Bishop Easterling said there is at least one thing that will not change now that she’s an episcopal leader:
“I have been shouting since I was a little girl brought up in University United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. There were folks who said when I went to Boston University School of Theology that I would lose my shout,” she said. “There were folks who said that as I began to serve in cross-racial and cross-cultural appointments that I would lose my shout. Then there were those who said ‘Well, now that she’s a district superintendent, we know she won’t be shouting anymore.’ And I’m sure there are those who think that because I have now been consecrated a bishop that I will lose my shout. Well, I want you to know, I will shout it till they call me home: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar recalled meeting Bishop Easterling for the first time in August 2012. She had been tapped by Bishop Peter Weaver to serve as superintendent of the Metro Boston Hope District.
“He did not want to finalize the appointment until he knew I also would feel comfortable with his choice. The next day, I met then Rev. Dr. LaTrelle Easterling. I only asked her a couple of questions, and I think it took less than 10 minutes for me to say to Bishop Weaver that I embraced his choice without any hesitation,” Bishop Devadhar said. “I never experienced a moment of doubt that Bishop Easterling would be an excellent district superintendent. From the beginning she supported, inspired, and challenged me ... soon she became my pastor within the Cabinet.”
Bishop Devadhar also shared his recollection of Bishop Easterling’s installation as DS.
“After hearing her preach in this very sanctuary and witnessing how she had arranged the service ... I said, ‘My sister in Christ, I see gifts in you that will allow you to become a bishop someday,’” he said.
As part of the celebration, Bishop Easterling was presented with a number of gifts:
Bonnie Marden presented a quilted episcopal seal from Bishop S. Clifton Ives.
Ruby Blake, Metro Boston Hope District Lay Leader, presented three stoles on behalf of the district.
Metro Boston Hope UMW President Pam Mavrelion presented the bishop with a Special Mission Recognition Pin.
On behalf of the New England Conference, Bishop Devadhar and Bishop Susan Hassinger presented Bishop Easterling with a staff that had been made for the late Bishop Martin McLee. A staff being created for Bishop Easterling by a Vermont artist is not yet completed.
Brenda Borchers, administrative assistant to Bishop Devadhar, presented anointing oil and a monogramed vessel on behalf of the Episcopal Office.
Rev. Seok Hwan Hong presented a bishop's shirt made in Korea on behalf of the Cabinet.
Director of Connectional Ministries/Assistant to the Bishop Erica Robinson-Johnson presented a framed copy of a benediction written by the late Bishop McLee, who wrote it when he served on the NEJ Episcopacy Committee. Bishop Easterling delivered the benediction at the close of this service. Hear a recording of the bishop’s benediction.
Bishop Easterling will begin serving the Baltimore-Washington Conference on Sept. 1. Her husband Rev. Marion Easterling Jr. has been appointed to serve a church in that conference. They are the parents of two sons Garrett and Miles.