Frances Decker Honored for 50 Years of Ministry

Post a Comment » Written on July 22nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (July 22, 2008) – More than 200 people attended a party Thursday to honor 50 years of consecutive ministry by Frances Decker, the chaplain at Bethany Covenant Village. They also celebrated her 80th birthday.

The celebration was “such a powerful affirmation of me and my ministry,” says Decker, describing the experience as “overwhelming” and “unbelievable.”

Although Decker has served at Bethany for 16 years, much of her previous ministry was in the area of Christian education. She started in 1958 as an instructor of Christian education and the dean of women at St. Paul Bible College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Decker became the director of Christian education at Brookdale Covenant Church in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where she served from 1965 to 1971. She subsequently served in the Department of Christian Education as the director of mobile ministry/field service from 1971 to 1980. During that time, she traveled to roughly 400 churches to help them develop their programs.

Decker returned to congregational ministry when she served as associate pastor and minister of Christian education at Salem Covenant Church in New Brighton, Minnesota. She began serving at Bethany in 1992.

Although she says, “I’m not a rebel,” Decker has been at the forefront of several major changes in the Evangelical Covenant Church. In 1970, she was one of the first four people to be commissioned to Christian education ministry. She was one of the first two women to receive ministerial licenses (Fran Anderson was the other.) She did wait until 1986 to be ordained.

“I’m just grateful that the Covenant saw the value in blessing women for ministry,” she says.

Decker has no retirement plans. “My call is to be faithful to the Lord,” she says. “Until he frees me to leave, I’ll be here.”

Decker appreciates the opportunity to minister at the intermediate care facility where many of the residents are low-income. “These are people who would have no other place to go, but we take them in,” she says. “You really have a sense of ministry to the residents and to the family,” Decker adds.

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