Annual Meetings to Honor Lifetimes of Vocational Ministry

Post a Comment » Written on May 11th, 2009     
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HICAGO, IL (May 11, 2009) – Delegates attending future annual meetings will have the opportunity to celebrate lifetimes of service for women and men involved in vocational ministry in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

By tradition, men and women in vocational ministry who are moving into retirement have been honored during the annual meeting of the conference in which they reside. However, notes the Department of the Ordered Ministry, in many cases an individual retires from a conference in which they did not spend the majority of their ministry years, which precludes former ministry colleagues from joining in that celebration.

Because it is the denomination that calls, credentials and sends men and women into vocational ministry to serve the larger church, the department thought it appropriate that the community of pastors and congregations join together at the denomination’s annual meeting to pay tribute to the lifetimes of faithful service and godly obedience of those whom the denomination has called.  Additionally, with so many ministers and missionaries continuing to serve rather than retiring from ministry, it seems appropriate that this recognition occur at a landmark birth date rather than waiting for official retirement paperwork to be filed.

“This new practice will embellish, not replace the conferences’ continued recognition of pastors at significant points of accomplishment and transition as well as movement into retirement,” notes David Kersten, executive minister of the Department of the Ordered Ministry. “It gives us an opportunity to honor selfless men and women publicly, in a theologically appropriate fashion. And this change in venue creates a nice symmetry, bringing events full circle – especially since we are now inviting those being honored for a lifetime of past service to take part in the laying-on-of-hands for those participating in the current Service of Ordination, Commissioning and Consecration.”

Updating the older tradition to reflect new practices was supported by the president’s office and the Board of Pensions and Benefits.

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