Annual Conference Report for June 11, 2011
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Luke 6:17-26 Blessed are you…
Bishop tells commissioned, ordained to love the unlovely
MUNCIE, Ind. – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner began his sermon, during the 2011 Indiana Annual Conference commissioning and ordination service Saturday morning, June 11, in Emens Auditorium at Muncie, by telling a story about the visit of his seminary advisor in the church he was serving as an intern.
Coyner said, “He came to observe how I was progressing.” He came to visit Coyner while he taught a young adult Sunday school class he and Marsha began.
“I worked really hard on my lesson, but I forgot about Barbara. She was a mentally handicapped woman church members placed in my class,” he said. “I don’t know whether it was because we had a guest or because I was nervous, she was louder than usual and even spilled her drink. Every time I tried to get into something (in my lesson), she would act out.”
Coyner said after class, my professor said to me, “What a wonderful lesson. Today’s lesson was about Christian community and, Mike, you missed the lesson. You were so worried and distracted. Everywhere you go in ministry, there will be a Barbara. The church at its best will always accept those who are unlovable. They come seeking the love of God.”
Facing the conference members, Coyner said, “Sometimes I and you are the unlovable. Sometimes we aren’t easy to love either. Sometimes people act it out on Sunday.”
He emphasized there are folks who are unlovable in every congregation. Jesus shares his wisdom according to the Gospel of Luke. When we hear the beatitudes of Luke, they seem to be more extreme than Matthew’s beatitudes of Jesus, Coyner pointed out.
“It’s not about earning God’s love, it’s about accepting God’s love,” he said. “We should be able to attract and embrace people with the love of God… Jesus says if you only love those who love you, that’s expected. If you only love the lovable, you’ve missed it… Even love your enemies; help them; give without anything in return and you will not regret it.”
“Our Father is kind; you be kind,” he continued to read, using Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Scripture. “Don’t condemn; be easy on people; give away your life… If you love, life will be given back with bonuses.”
Turning to those to be commissioned and ordained, he said, “Some of the people you serve will not be very lovely. It’s about God’s love for the Barbaras of the world, the Mikes of the world. My prayer is all about the love God gives to us to give to others, including those you are not so loving.”
During the Ministry Worship service, Coyner commissioned four provisional ministers and ordained 24 ministers. He commissioned: Lowell Gregg Black of Chesterton, Jungbum Kim of Fishers, Samuel Leon Padgett of Corydon and Daniel Lee Payton of Patoka.
Coyner then ordained as deacons: Chiyona A’Leeta Bourne of Indianapolis, Candyce Krider Kaiser of Ligonier, Marcy Lynn Patrick of Lebanon and Amanda Renae Connett Rochelle of Huntsville, Ala.
Coyner also ordained as elders: Stanley D. Abell of Indianapolis, Sharon Lea Baker of Gary, Michael Brice Collins of Coydon, Gregory Kent Davis of Loogootee, Kevin Walter Drane of Royal Center, Jill Moffett Howard of Terre Haute, Tony Lee Johnson of Bargersville, Robert Michael Kumpf of Brazil, Michael Ted Lawson of Marion, Ethan Lloyd Maple of Indianapolis, Kevin Eugene Marsh of Butler, Jean Stone Ness of Cromwell, Adam Michael Payne of Willow Branch, Andrew Dennis Payton of Tell City, Renee Kathleen Perkins of Bicknell, Kevin Malcolm Raidy of Valparaiso, Jackie Dee Smith of Fort Wayne, Jenifer Lee Stuelpe-Gibbs of Bloomington, Matthew Allen Swisher of Veedersburg and Nathan Eric Whybrew of Munster.
|Classes of 2011|
Front row: Ethan Lloyd Maple, Jill Moffett Howard, Jenifer Lee Stuelpe-Gibbs, Renee Kathleen Perkins, Gregory Kent Davis, Sharon Lea Baker, Tony Lee Johnson, Jean Stone Ness
Front row: Jungbum Kim, Daniel Lee Payton
Front row: Marcy Lynn Patrick, Chiyona A’Leeta Bourne