Members and friends of the Indiana Annual Conference packed Emens Auditorium for a Sunday morning worship service June 28 that included the commissioning and ordaining of 33 clergy members of the conference.
Of the 33 clergy members, 16 were commissioned; one as an associate member; one as a deacon; and 15 were ordained elder in full connection.
Bishop Coyner began talking about how in April 1995, Pastor Jim Dickey, went to church for the first of two services, and shared with his wife that he wasn’t feeling well. That morning as he announced the opening hymn, he fell back into the pulpit chair and died. “Jim was a good guy, a faithful pastor. He was a family friend and served as an associate pastor at my home church,” said Coyner.
At the funeral, Jim’s granddaughter was to sing a solo. “She wanted to sing for her granddaddy. She got up and sang the anthem, ‘On Eagle’s Wings.’ After the first verse, she faltered. We all at once joined together to finish the chorus with her. She sang the second verse and we sang the chorus again.
“It was one of the most healing experiences I have ever had at a funeral. We helped each other finish the song,” said Coyner.
“We’re called to finish the song of Jesus. He taught us the words, the melody to sing the song of Jesus. He gave it to his disciples. They passed it on to us.”
Coyner continued to the conference that there are many people who don’t know the song. They have forgotten the lyrics. We have to finish the song. On an average Sunday, fewer than 20 percent of the population is in any church.
“Ministry is hard. It’s hard to lead a church when it doesn’t want to be led,” he said. “What we need for each other is someone to help finish the song.
“It’s all the little stuff…death by a thousand paper cuts. There’s always more ministry to be done. There’s also the picky stuff. All of those things add up.”
Coyner called upon all clergy and laity to work together and be there for one another. “When they go through some moment in their ministry, if they call any of you and tell you that, will you have coffee with them, will you say something to help them get through that time to sing that song.”
With the start of a new conference, Coyner added, “We have a new secret code language that everyone knows. ‘I’m having trouble singing the song of Jesus today. ‘I’ll help you finish the song.’”
The service, much like all sessions of this annual conference, was Webcast.
At least 24 churches across the state were using the ordination service as part of their Sunday morning worship. (For Webcast archive, visit www.inumc.org.)
Leeannah Huffman Gough and Eeviya Marie Gough, daughters of Rev. Mark and Paula Gough, were baptized during the service.