Milestones in ministry recognized, celebrated

June 21, 2017

By: Christa Meland

Who among us has been surprised by the Holy Spirit? Who has had your imagination expand by the Holy Spirit? Who can’t wait for the Holy Spirit to next prompt you, guide you, or challenge you? Who has been “blown away” by the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit?
Bishop Bruce R. Ough posed these questions to the congregation at the Celebration of Life in Ministry worship service Wednesday night. Hundreds of Minnesota United Methodists gathered to remember friends and colleagues who have died over the past year, honor retiring clergy, and celebrate newly licensed local pastors, those being commissioned and ordained, and those being received as associate members.
Preaching on Acts 2:1-4, Ough said that while Jesus is God’s greatest gift to the world, there is more. God isn’t through giving. Jesus reveals to his disciples that God was planning to give all who love Jesus and keep Jesus’ commandments a second gift—a very special, very personal, and very unique gift—the Holy Spirit.
This gift will be with us forever. It will be in us. It will prevail over our differences. It will break through our resistances. It will free us. It will empower us. It will cause us to live expectantly. It will surprise us again and again and again.

If there is a single word that captures the mood of every person present when the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, it is “surprise,” Ough said. 
“Pray for the surprise!” he told those gathered. “While we may not always agree or understand how the Spirit works in our lives, let us never forget the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. Let us never ignore or discount this gift; for the Holy Spirit is at the core of the Church today, and without the Holy Spirit, the Church has no imagination, no breakthroughs, no sustainability, no life.”
What kind of church do you believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to be in Minnesota? Ough asked. One that is constantly being surprised and awakened by the Spirit—or one that only affirms the Holy Spirit in a tidy doctrinal statement? One that stands on its tiptoes, expectant, eager, sometimes nervous with anticipation—or one that worships the status quo and has everything bolted to the floor? One that expects the miraculous “stuff” to happen—or one that only says nice, proper prayers about the “stuff”? One that welcomes and celebrates the imagination of God? Or one that is bound by fear, blocked by resistance, blinded by ignorance, and bullied by power?

“I have a vision for every church in the Minnesota Conference, for every pastor and lay person in this worship service this evening, and especially for those being commissioned, ordained or welcomed as an associate member or licensed local pastor,” said Ough. “My vision is that you will always, always, always be…reminding your congregations, and all of us, of the unlimited imagination of God; reminding us of the power of the Holy Spirit; reminding us that the risen Christ is present, not absent. My vision is that each of you will live and lead on your tiptoes, expectant, eager, sometimes even nervous with anticipation. My vision is that the same Holy Spirit that gave birth to the Church on Pentecost will continually prod, cajole, beckon and surprise you.”
Throughout the course of the worship service, these individuals were lifted up in remembrance, recognition, and celebration:

Those Who Have Died
  • Linda Cox-Townsend (late husband, Rev. Dennis J. Cox-Townsend), 6/23/16
  • Ruth Miller (late husband, Rev. Dexter F. Miller), 7/1/16
  • Rev. Leslie E. Drake (late first wife, Phyllis Drake and late second wife, Anne Drake), 7/8/16
  • Rev. Kenneth V. Willard (late wife, Mary Willard), 9/11/16
  • Kathleen Haining (late husband, Rev. Roscoe Haining), 9/21/16
  • Rev. Dennis J. Cox-Townsend (late wife, Linda Cox-Townsend), 9/25/16
  • Rev. Gordon M. Wendland (late wife, Wanda Wendland), 9/30/16
  • Ema Lu Kisrow (late husband, Rev. Leo N. Kisrow), 10/11/16
  • Naomi W. Joransen (late husband, Rev. Stuart Joransen), 11/3/16
  • Barbara J. Coss (husband, Rev. Thurman L. Coss), 11/17/16
  • Rev. Douglas R. Nicholas (wife, Gladys Nicholas), 11/27/16
  • Rev. Lois Mae Ball (husband, Robert Ball), 12/3/16
  • Mavis Elaine Vanschaick Thompson (late husband, Rev. Joseph Harley Thompson), 12/5/16
  • Dorothy Mae Wallace (late husband, Rev. Emery L. Wallace), 12/6/16
  • Rev. Roger D. Melquist (wife, Helen Melquist), 1/19/17
  • Rev. Jonah S. Yang (wife, Yer T. Yang), 1/24/17
  • Rev. Lloyd Jeffrey Daniels (wife, Char Daniels), 1/25/17
  • Rev. Richard Paul Walters (wife, Lou Walters), 1/26/17
  • Lillian L. Shattuck (late husband, Rev. Malcolm Shattuck), 2/11/17
  • Maxine D. Almquist (husband, Rev. Daniel P. Almquist), 2/23/17
  • Rev. Clare W. Karsten (late wife, Martha Karsten), 3/7/17
  • Sylvia C. S. Henricks (late husband, Rev. Marvin L. Henricks), 3/19/17
  • Darlene L. Fair (husband, Rev. John J. Fair), 3/19/17
  • Andreas Tobler (wife, Rev. Alice V. Tobler), 3/20/17
  • Rev. Donald L. Walkes (wife, Helen Walkes), 4/5/17
  • Rev. Donald S. Sheffield (late wife, Joan Sheffield), 4/12/17
  • Elaine E. Lidke (husband, Rev. Norman E. Lidke), 4/15/17
  • Beverly V. Griffith (late husband, Rev. Thomas J. Griffith), 4/15/17
  • Joyce E. Johnson (husband, Rev. Clyde E. Johnson), 4/17/17
  • Earlene A. Meier (late husband, Rev. Alvin C. Meier), 4/22/17
  • Rev. Phyllis B. Wilcox (late husband, Rev. David Wilcox), 5/5/17
  • Rev. David John Brown III (wife, Shelly Brown), 5/6/17
  • Rev. Gordon L. Richards (wife, Pauline Richards), 5/15/17
  • Bishop Emerson S. Colaw (late wife, Jane Colaw) 10/11/16 
The Retirement Class
  • Dennis J. Alexander
  • Mark Allen Bengtson
  • Gwendolyn G. Bohlke
  • Loren A.  Ferch
  • Sharon F. Goetzinger
  • Gary Allen Gottfried
  • Ruth Hograbe
  • Richard A. Jacobsen
  • Mary Keen
  • Suzanne Maki
  • David E. McBride
  • John McEachran
  • Judith McEachran
  • Emma J. Melin
  • Greg Nelson
  • Nancy June Johnston Noah
  • Diane Carol Larson Olson
  • Kevin G. Schill
  • Tsuchue P. Vang
  • Cooper Wiggen 
Licensed Local Pastors
  • Andrew J. Bittner
  • Diane L. Bolles
  • Daniel L. Dempster
  • Rachel E. Devereaux
  • Donna Kuper
  • Velda J. Maine
  • Jill M. Meents
  • Cheryl J. Nymann
  • Andrew L. Petter
  • Debra J. Schaffran
  • Bridget K. Sheely
  • Mary Lou Sixberry
Completion of the Course of Study for Licensed Local Pastor
  • Durene Cornell
Ordained for the Work of an Elder
  • Henry S. Dolopei, Jr.
  • Jeremiah Lideen
  • Nate Melcher
  • Shawn Moore
  • Tyler Sit
  • Rachael Anne Warner
Ordained for the Work of a Deacon
  • Erica Jo Koser 
Recognized as an Associate Member
  • Barb McKewin
Commissioned as a Provisional Member from Another Denomination
  • Shawna Kathryn Horn
  • Seokhwan Jay Jeong 
Commissioned as a Provisional Member (Elder)
  • Kevin Howard Coder
  • Karen A. Evenson
  • Ailsa Harl Odom
  • Eric Shin
  • Cullen Tanner 
Commissioned as a Provisional Member (Deacon)
  • Hope Bentley Hutchison
  • Dana Kiyoko Rousseau Neuhauser
  • Grant Robert Spencer

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

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(612) 870-0058