On Wednesday, June 12th, Sam McGlothlin will receive her ordination as an Elder in The United Methodist Church. This is the culmination of a long process in which the church examines a candidate to ensure that he or she has the gifts and graces required to serve as a pastor. This process is about ten years long beginning with undergraduate school, seminary and then a period of “residency” under supervision.
We are all thrilled for Sam and I hope you will do your best to attend the service of ordination at Brentwood United Methodist Church the evening of Wednesday, June 12th at 7pm.
This is a good opportunity to teach about our pastors and other leaders. Sam is to be ordained as an Elder, whose primary tasks are to Word, Sacrament, Service and Order of the Church. Elders are primarily responsible for preaching, administering the sacraments, and maintaining the general order of the church. The church has multiple ministry positions and various ways that people fulfill these roles.
Gracie Dugan, our Pastor of Children and Families, is ordained as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church. A Deacon goes through the same level of training and process as an Elder. However, the “calling” of a Deacon differs from an Elder in that they are called to ministries of Word and Service along with those of Compassion and Justice. A Deacon—whose name is derived from the Greek word “diakonia” meaning service—takes on the responsibility of serving the church and Christ in the world in particular ways. Gracie’s call is to serve and nurture children and their families. Deacons may serve the church in many ways including with children, youth, senior adults, music or missions. Some Deacons also live into their call to connect the church to the world as they lead outside the walls of the church in non-profits. Gracie can preach, which she did excellently last week, but that is not her primary call. Her passion is to introduce the faith to our children in ways that they can grasp - so that they continue to learn of the love God has for them and the whole world. She also works to partner with and empower families to bring spiritual formation and faith practices into the home.
Steve Stone is our Pastor of Youth and Families. Steve is also seminary trained, but did not pursue an ordination path. In fact, most people who choose a career in youth ministry are not seminary trained or ordained in any way. Steve’s task is to walk with our youth and their families through their important adolescent years and help them with their faith development. As our children mature and become teenagers, that period of time in their lives is critical as they form their faith. Steve is responsible to teach and to lead the youth to ask important questions and to provide missions and activities that will help form faith.
Our church is very fortunate to have these two additional seminary trained persons on our staff. The value of that seminary training, I believe, is a depth that others don’t possess. A more complete understanding of the Bible and Church produces a better equipped disciple. Gracie and Steve bring that level of expertise to the children and youth ministries of our church.
Maybe you can make the time to sit with Gracie and Steve over a cup of coffee/tea to get better acquainted and let them explain in more depth about their ministries.