Grace is there for you to receive, Bishop Bledsoe tells ordinands

David Burke

6/15/2021

Annual Conference 2021



The world needs to know that God’s grace is available to anyone who asks for it, Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe says. 

To make his point during his sermon at the Service of Recognition, Commissioning and Ordination, Bishop Bledsoe talked about when he was a pastor giving a sermon and inviting youngsters to “come up and get it” and how some of them did – and in turn received a token from him. 

The bishop made the same offer to those being ordained as elders, deacons and associate members June 12, as he stood on the floor of the Church of the Resurrection. 

Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe distributed coins symbolizing God's grace to ordinands. Photos by Todd Seifert

“Do you have the nerve to come up and see if there’s anything up in my pocket this morning?” he asked them. “I’ve got a gift. Anyone willing to step out and receive the gift?” 

Though initially hesitant – “What’s holding you back?” he asked -- several of the ordinands walked up to Bishop Bledsoe and received a token, and he kept distributing them until his pants pockets and shirt pockets were empty. 

“Even though I’ve run out and didn’t have enough,” Bishop Bledsoe told them, “God does not run out.” 

Bishop Bledsoe, who is retiring at the end of the year, leads the West Texas and New Mexico episcopal areas. He told the ordinands that grace – which he said was an acronym for God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense – was the gift of God. 

“We cannot earn it,” he said. “God just freely gives it to us.” 

He congratulated the ordinands on their achievements and their callings to ministry. 

“Your presence and the work that you’re doing in the Great Plains Conference is a very important and significant work, because it says that the Holy Spirit is actively alive and well and doing great in the Great Plains Conference,” he said. 

Great Plains Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. told the ordinands that the enthusiasm they showed when they walked into the sanctuary of Church of the Resurrection reminded him of his days playing and coaching football, when opponents were sized up by how they exited the bus. 

“At that point, many games were won or lost, just by how they walked off the bus,” he said. 

Bishop Saenz said the ordinands’ dedication and their enthusiasm would carry them far in reaching new disciples. 

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. with the 2021 ordinands.

“You’re gonna cause some good trouble, in the words of (late U.S. Rep.) John Lewis, for the Lord,” Bishop Saenz told them. 

Ordained as elders in full connection were Hyun Ju Gil, Tino Herrera, Hyemi Jones, David Kim and Annie Ricker. Daekyung Kim was received as a full member after completing the process of transfer from the Korean Methodist Church. 

Sue Barham completed her transfer from full membership in the Order of Deacons to full membership in the Order of Elders and was ordained as an elder. 

Claire Clough was ordained as a deacon in full connection. 

Bonnie Brock, Martin Leeper and Cyd Stein were recognized as associate members. 

Deb Dahlke, Jeanne Koontz, Allison Marcus, Mike Marcus, Maria Penrod and Justin Schoolcraft were affirmed as provisional deacons. 

Ever Vennah Mudambanuki (Zimbabwe Conference) and Abiba “Alice” Shomari (South Congo Conference), after ministry in other conferences were welcomed as elders in full connection in the Great Plains Conference. 

Commissioned as provisional elders were Caitlin Bentzinger, Andrew Finch, Jee Sook Gil, Sangyeop Han, Joshua Johnson, Spenser Johnson, Ryong Jae Jung, Kalaba Kapundu, Keunsik Lee, Karissa Miller, Helen Paus, Daniel Reffner, Blake Stanwood, Jay Stewart, Lauren Baker Thomas, Lacey Wheeler and Matthew Wilke. 

Not participating in the ceremony, but being recognized as licensed local pastors, were Renelle Aytes, Brennan Cummings, Michael Hader, Mark Hendrickson, Priscilla Kaimathiri, Changhyun Kim, Jane Lang’at, Marshall Larson, Chris Lehew, Jed Linder, Albert Longe, Cameron Miller, Lami Oladimeji, Pamela Savery, Valecia Scribner, Rachel Stone and Brad Zimmerman. 

Contact David Burke, content specialist, at dburke@greatplainsumc.org.


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