Pastors Ordained, Commissioned in Final Service

Post a Comment » Written on June 16th, 2006     
Filed under: News
By Stan Friedman

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (June 16, 2006) – The newly ordained and commissioned Covenant pastors in black robes crossed the stage over which hung a banner proclaiming the vision of “Everyone to Everywhere.” They received new Bibles and were vested with stoles that signified their yoking to Christ for ministry.

They stood before the hundreds of people who gathered this evening as part of the 121st Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church, the very people who earlier today had approved the calling of these individuals “as teachers, ministers of the Word, and shepherds of the flock” and who now prayed for them.

Mary Miller preachingOf differing genders, ethnicities, ages, shapes and sizes, they were witnesses to the words preached earlier by Mary Miller that “the Holy Spirit pours forth unto all of us in the image of God.”

That Spirit is not tame, she said, as evidenced by what happened to the disciples huddled in a Jerusalem home nearly 2,000 years ago. “This is not a quaint little dove, this is not a comforter,” Miller said. “There was a fire, not in a burning bush, but in a whole house.”

On that day, the Spirit unified the disciples by giving them the ability to speak diverse languages in order to proclaim “the mighty works of God,” noted Miller, adding that the same Spirit will give the newly ordained and commissioned ministers the same power.

In Jerusalem, the pastors had no idea what the future held for them, and neither did the people on stage, Miller said. What she did know was that they had their work cut out for them.

She shared an old story handed down in her family that tells of an important visitor who received a tour of an underground mine. Upon descending the long shaft, he was surprised to find a large draft horse in an open area of the mine and asked how the animal could possibly be transported underground and back to the surface. One of the miners informed the visitor that the horse had made the trip only once – as a colt. It was in the mine that the horse ate, worked and had people to pet him. It was there that the horse one day would be buried.

Miller said the horse’s situation might appear sad, but “it’s not so bad when you get used to it.

Laying on of hands“We kind of have the same thing today,” Miller continued, as evidenced by the “blue haze” seen coming from nearly every home in any area of the country. “People go to work, come home, eat, watch TV, and go to bed.” She added that the next day, “People go to work, come home, eat, watch TV, and go to bed.”

“It’s not that bad when you get used to it,” Miller said. The new ministers, however, have the charge of guiding people who have grown accustomed to the banality and are unable to imagine any other future.

Miller began doing that work when she was ordained 25 years ago. In his introduction of her, President Glenn Palmberg told the gathering that he had been the Dean of Students at North Park Theological Seminary when Miller asked about transferring to the school because the seminary of her previous denomination didn’t allow women to become pastors.

Miller helped pioneer the way for women, Palmberg said. Although the Covenant had voted five years earlier to ordain women, “they were not always given full opportunity.”

She would go on, Palmberg noted, to be the first woman officer in the Covenant’s history, as well as a pastor, author, spiritual director, preacher and teacher, “and a good and faithful servant.”

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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