Susquehanna LINK - July/August 2011 A Deacon’s Reflection: Our Shared Responsibility
By Rev. Adam Estep, Ordained Deacon serving Linglestown Life UMC, Harrisburg District
I write this days after being ordained a Deacon at our 2nd gathering of the Susquehanna Annual Conference. The ordination process has taught me a
great deal about a variety of topics. I desire to call attention to the very order to which I have been ordained: Deacon. So few truly understand what this order is and does, and this was illustrated multiple times through the process when persons on both my dis- trict committee and the Board of Ordained Ministry asked me, “Why don’t you want to be a real pastor?” Getting past the in- sulting nature of this question, it displays how little we have educated ourselves as to what the deacon order is about. Our gatherings in June do well to high- light this ordained order and explain its purpose, but it seems this message still has not completely sunk in across our confer- ence. Therefore, I write this to ask your help as we endeavor to support each other and our callings. Whether you are a lay person, elder, or deacon, we all, I believe, have specific things we can do to educate everyone about the order of Deacons. For laypersons, if you are still unsure of what the deacon is ordained to do and what the call of deacon is about, go to the General Board of Discipleship Web site (www.gbod.org
) where they have all sorts of resources. Perhaps, you are discerning a call to ministry; have you considered the order of Deacons as an option? This site may help. For our brothers and sisters in the Or- der of Elders, you have a key role in this education. As you seek out persons called to ministry, understand the options that are before them from lay ministry to ordina- tion. This is especially true if you serve as a mentor. Please give equal time to both orders as you help your mentee discern what ministry God is calling them to. Un- fortunately, my early mentors did not do this, and so spent years fruitlessly trying to
fit my calling into the small box presented for me until someone else spent time edu- cating me on the Order of Deacons. This moment of discovery was life-altering, and I would ask you give your mentees the same opportunity.
Also, consider hiring a Deacon at your
local church. A part-time or three-quarter time serving Deacon could provide valu- able assistance. Not only can they help with worship and assist in the sacraments, but Deacons can officiate weddings and funerals. Perhaps, this could be valuable to you as you consider hiring a staffperson. Finally, keep in mind that gatherings of ordained clergy may include both orders and be sensitive to that. Do not assume that the only ordained persons are those that belong to the order of Elder. At the conference level, I would encour- age our conference leaders to incorporate Deacon participation in our various com- mittees, and at the very least, consult a deacon from time to time with decisions that could very well effect them. Finally, to my brothers and sisters in the
Order of Deacons, our responsibility is the largest. We must seize every opportunity to educate those around us about our or- der. We must be watchful for those who may be called to ordained ministry and the Order of Deacons. When asked to serve the conference on various committees or as mentors, we must do all we can to say, “Yes.” As a new order, this is our burden, but also our opportunity to let others know who we are and what God has called us to be. Again, I exhort you to SEIZE EVERY OPPORTUNITY.
We need support, if for no other reason, than that we are so few in number. Dea- cons do not all serve in the local church, and so we are seen even less often. Yet, we are brothers and sisters with unique call- ings that add to the wonderful diversity of ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. Let us work together, affirming our shared ministries to make disciples for the transformation of the world.
PERSPECTIVES FROM THE PEW And away we go
Conference Lay Leader
Many of us remember Jack- ie Gleason. After some open- ing banter with the audience, he would utter those words and the “Honeymooners” would begin. The show was hilarious. That was the point, to make us laugh. Jack- ie Gleason was one of the masters at this type of humor. Why do I reflect on this show? Actually, I am reflecting on the expression. It was a beginning point, which we recognized as such. It led to many wonderful laughs. We knew what to expect. In using this expression now, we have no idea what to expect. We, as an Annual Conference, have chosen to initialize change. We granted our support to reduc- ing the number of districts from eleven to seven. That will most certainly bring change. How this will play out is an unknown. Yet we are on our way. During the next year we can expect to be asked for our input about many of the factors that our bishop and Cabinet will use to make the de- cisions around how to draw the district boundaries. There will be disquieted and disgruntled peo- ple, certainly. Those are always going to accompany change. We don’t like change. It is all
tied up with the fear of the un- known. We can’t plan for what we don’t know. We aren’t in con- trol of the unknown. We want to be in control of our situation. Yet if we truly are God’s people, we must recognize that we are not in control. The Holy Spirit is the one in control. We’ve all heard the expression or read the bumper sticker, ‘God is my co-pilot,’ but perhaps that is in error. Maybe we should switch seats. God is certainly the one in control. So if God is in control, God is already at work in this decision. God is the One we can trust to always be present for us. We should all do our best to help gather information for the bishop and Cabinet. We should all bathe this effort in prayer. And despite the fear of change, we need to keep before us that God is in charge and at work. And God is always asking for our best efforts. It will be a bumpy, exciting ride. It will be challenging as we work through this change, yet I am not sure that I would want to be anywhere else. After all, God has been in so many moments of change throughout history. We don’t know how it will turn out, but “Away We Go!”
DR. MILTON LOYER
Conference Archivist Resources for tweens
About once a week someone walks into Discovery Place looking for resources to use with tweens. This special group of youth is too old for children’s resources but not quite ready for the tough topics addressed in youth resources. We have a growing collection of resources produced just for this group. Below are some ex- amples.
Dramas for Tweens: A Long Wait
for a Messiah and 5 Other Dramas for Tweens: Contains six dramas, both in modern and biblical settings. These dra- mas will allow tweens to role play certain situations they may find themselves in every day. They will also have the op- portunity to discover and experience bib- lical stories in a whole new way. Other titles in this collection include: What’s the Score?, Trouble in the Temple, Don’t Miss the Bus, What a Story, Sleep on It, and Parade of Lights. Tween Spirituality: Tweens are natu- rally spiritual beings, but their spirituality often gets shuffled aside in the busyness of life, even sometimes in the life of the church. This book provides the adults who work with tweens some ways to nur- ture a tween’s natural spirituality so that it develops into a lifelong relationship with God.
BeTween Everything: Designed to help Sunday school teachers deal with pre- teens – specifically fifth, sixth, and sev-
enth graders – who are literally between everything. This book will help teach- ers smooth the transition for preteens as they take the giant steps from childhood to youth to adulthood, and from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. This book looks at how their physical, cognitive, so- cial, and emotional development affects how we teach tweens, and also addresses some cultural issues that pervade their lives.
Live It!: Talking with God: Live It! is
a tween resource designed to help ages 10-13 face today’s issues with a real un- derstanding of how their faith impacts their lives every day. Other titles in the Live It series includes: Being Christian at School, Under Pressure, Beautiful in God’s Eyes, and Bullying and Gossiping. Secrets of the Universe: The Lads: Se- crets of the Universe is a multimedia ex- perience designed to share simple truths about God’s love in a way that reaches the hearts, minds, and funny bones of your tweens.
Jacob’s Ladder: The “teenpack” is looking for adventure when they discover a mysterious old lighthouse and the even more mysterious keeper, Rafael. Through the lighthouse, the young teens are trans- ported to Bible times where they inter- act with timeless characters and learn of a loving God who cares for His people throughout all the ages.
Share the Good News!
When you are finished reading Susquehanna LINK, please give your copy to someone else who might be interested.
100 years ago On July 10, 1911, the members
of the Orson Methodist Episcopal Charge, in Wayne and Susque- hanna Counties, of the Wyoming Conference became
in quite a mystery. Their pas- tor, Watson B. Signor, with his wife and thirteen-year-old son, traveled to Scranton to attend an outing the next day for preachers and their families. Leaving his family with friends, Rev. Signor went into the central city and dis- appeared. Many clues were fol- lowed, but for weeks all efforts to learn his fate proved fruitless. The charge was served for the remaining eight months of the conference year by a local pastor. The tale has a bittersweet ending. While the preacher was finally located, he was brought to trial during the next Annual Confer- ence and expelled from the min- istry. The Orson Charge of 1911 included four church buildings. While the journals of that era do not identify individual appoint- ments, those churches are be- lieved to have been East Ararat, Herrick Center, Orson, and South Preston. Only East Ararat and Orson remain as active United Methodist congregations.
50 years ago The Central Pennsylvania Con-
ference of the Methodist Church offered two unusual family camps in August 1961: August 13-19 at Camp Loyalsock, Forksville, Sul- livan County, directed by Rev. and Mrs. Ray Deming; August 20-26 at Wesley Forest, Weikert, Union County, directed by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Patterson. Each camp was limited to twelve fami- lies. At the first camp, two dif- ferent families planned the meals and cooked for the entire camp each day. At the second camp, each family planned and cooked their own meals. In both camps, the program for each day was worked out by small group living units, usually three families. The conference also tried an- other innovation that year – its first-ever camp for older adults (i.e., for persons “whose ages are in the sixties”). Apparently there was some confusion about this concept, and the conference is- sued the following clarification after the camping schedule had been announced: “Camping for older adults is not an adventure in primitive living, but an adventure in out-door living on the basis of the physical comfort their age requires.”
OPEN Monday - Friday 9am - 2:15pm
Susquehanna Conference 303 Mulberry Drive, Ste. 400 Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
JODY ROBINSON Director Discovery Place
Free resources for your local church can be found at www.discovery-place.org
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