Two from NE among those consecrated at General Conference
May 16, 2016
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey told those gathered for morning worship at General Conference that they – and we all – are invited to God’s party, but we
must be prepared to put on the right clothes.
Bishop Fierro Harvey, who leads the Louisiana Episcopal Area, preached on the parable of the wedding banquet inMatthew 22:1-14.
While the bishop acknowledged “we can wear the right clothes and still not be properly attired,” the dress code is inviolate.
“God invites God’s people, you and me, to ‘Come as we are,’ but not to stay as we are,” said the bishop. “Our showing up at the party, our standing before God, is about our willingness to receive, to put on, the robe of God’s grace.”
“This banquet – the one in the parable and the banquet we gather for here in Portland – is a call to new life – a new way of being; this banquet is for those who have showed up, ready to put on the wedding garment, the robe of righteousness,” Bishop Fierro Harvey said. “It is for those who are ready to do something new and to become something new.”
And not just new, Bishop Fierro Harvey said, but something that will “turn the world upside down.”
She acknowledged that in this parable Matthew is speaking to a church divided, “a church with two factions: Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.” But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for this up-ending transformation.
“I am convinced that if we are willing to erase the imaginary line in our imaginary fellowship hall or conference floor and put on the robe provided for each and every one of us regardless of where we are from – Central Conference, the United States …” she said. “Whether we are progressive or conservative, gay or straight, rich or poor, black, white, Latino, Filipino, fit or misfit, broken or not, we will experience transformation that will turn the world upside down.”
“This invitation is an urgent one,” Bishop Fierro Harvey said. “There is no excuse for not showing up. We cannot leave our grace-lined garment on that rack.”
Consecration of deaconesses and home missioners
The morning worship included a group of 26 lay women and men who were putting on a new garment: the stole of deaconess and home missioner.
Two women in the New England Conference, Roberta Bragan and Amanda Howe, were among the deaconesses and home missioners consecrated at the morning worship service.
These are laity who are called to be in a lifetime relationship in The United Methodist Church with a full-time vocation in ministries of love, justice, and service. The modern deaconess movement was born in Germany in 1836 and was added to the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1888.
Howe, who is from Barnstable, MA, serves as resource development officer at the Barnstable County Resource Development Office, and Bragan, who is from Enfield, CT, is a photojournalist focusing on stories about the human condition with an emphasis on highlighting injustices and the potential solutions to such injustices.
Clara Ester, Deaconess, said Jesus’ story about a party that needs guests includes a king who “needs servants to take the invitation out to the streets so that everyone knows they are welcome into the celebration of God’s love and mercy,” Ester said. “Deaconess and home missioners are among those servants today.”
Those consecrated May 16, 2016
Kaye Celyn Caigle
Sheena Camille Calma
April Grace Martinez
Design of the deaconess and home missioner pin
The design of the deaconess and home missioner pin is based on the pin of the Wesley diaconate of England. The cross with arms of equal length represents the spread of Christianity in the four directions. The circle is symbolic of the gospel throughout the earth and stands for eternity — without beginning and without end, a reminder also of the inclusiveness of God’s love.