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2013 Annual Conference

June 21-23
The Hampton Roads Convention Center
Hampton, VA

Saturday Evening: Service of Ordering of the Ministry

The processional

A Service for the Ordering of the Ministry took place Saturday evening.

The Rev. Tom Berlin, pastor of Floris UMC, was the preacher. He said this evening reminded him of his own journey through seminary and ordination. He spoke directly to the people being recognized. "There is no halfway, there is no little bit," he said. "Be not just committed, but be undeniably committed so you never ask yourself, 'Was I really committed?'"

Berlin explained, "Every so often I would hear and see something that would say, 'That's the treasure, that's what it is.'" 

"To think that God loves the widow and the orphan, and straightens those who are bent, it's a worthy truth," Berlin said. "That's why you did the five years of licensing. Jesus gives us the word for it. The word is joy. It's joy," Berlin said. Jesus says it was in joy that the person went and sold all he had to find it. "I don't trust members of any type who lack joy," Berlin shared. "You can smell them coming a mile away. Stay away from them. Because they will steal your joy. I don't trust myself when I lose my joy." 

You come in a very unique time in the Virginia Conference, Berlin said. "I've never had my episocpal leader challenge me to spend an hour a day in prayer. It's a wondrous time you're in. Joy is what brought you here." 

Tom Berlin

But, he said, "It's not always going to be a load of fun." 

Berlin related the story of a 14-year-old in his church who died of accidental electrocution. He will perform the funeral Monday. "We have been a community of sorrow. But even this has some joy. When people pull back the curtain and share with you, you see the beauty of joy. We don't HAVE to do this. We GET to do this. It's joy that leads a person to be undeniably committed. You could be sitting somewhere else. You can  be on the most exciting precipice of your life, or you can be sitting on another 30 years."

Berlin talked about a partnership in Africa with children living in the streets. He watched a young boy grow up. "He's one of the most spiritually attuned people I know," Berlin said. The boy visited Herndon to speak at Floris. Berlin took him into the sanctuary. He wanted to see everything. They have an inlay of wood in the Lord's table and he ran his fingers over the wood. He said he couldn't leave this place before he prayed. "I looked at this kid and thought, 'That's the treasure.'"

"God is so great that not only can a child be blessed, but everyone working with that child is blessed," he said.

Following the sermon, Bishop Cho conducted the examination of the candidates, the licensing of local pastors, the commissioning of provisional members, the ordaining of deacons, and the ordaining of elders.

Bishop Cho issued an invitation to respond to any in the audience who might feel called, "especially to the young people."


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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center