Monday, June 30, 2014

Keeping the main thing the main thing

By Terri Asseal and Rose Baker

“Here I am, Lord, is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night ... I will hold your people in my heart.”

A group of thirteen answered that question with a resounding “YES” by dedicating their lives to the work of God Saturday afternoon, June 14, at the Ordination Service of the 2014 Susquehanna Annual Conference.

The Chi Rho Singers opened the ceremony with “Washed Anew.” Bishop Jeremiah J. Park greeted and welcomed the congregation, and together we prayed for grace to fulfill each of our gifts that we may use them for God’s glory.

In preparation for ordination, the candidates were presented to the congregation to be ordained or commissioned, and we agreed to uphold them in their ministry. They answered the examination questions posed by Bishop Park.

The Chi Rho Singers returned to the stage and, with their awesome and angelic voices, moved us with the song, “Then Sings My Soul.”

Bishop Park introduced Bishop Joseph H. Yeakel, the speaker for Ordination, as his bishop — Bishop Yeakel was the one who ordained him.

Following an examination by Bishop Park, those being commissioned were blessed with the laying on of hands.

Bishop Yeakel began his message very simply. He said, “The main thing is to make the main thing the main thing and to keep the main thing the main thing. End of sermon.” Exactly 33 years and three days ago, Bishop Yeakel ordained Jungchan Park as an elder. He recalled what he told Bishop Park’s class of elders. He told them to have eagerness to share the good news, love for all God’s people, and desire to serve God wherever they are sent. He told the current class of ordinands to keep those three things in mind, too.

He said the key to the future of the church depends on its leadership. They must remember the main thing is
I Corinthians 13:1-14:1. It must be central to their ministry. Of all the characteristics that Paul explains in that letter, the ordinands must remember that the greatest of these is love; “Therefore, make love your aim.”

Bishop Yeakel said it’s a tough time to take on ministry right now. It’s a divided church, he said. He always talks about gender, because “when we talk about sex, we diminish love.” When we’re born, we have no religion. We must be carefully taught to hate or to love. As leaders of the church, the ordinands must be the first to offer acceptance. To inspire them, he offered a Franciscan benediction that they may be blessed with discomfort, anger, tears, and foolishness so that they look deep within their hearts, work for justice, reach out to comfort, and make a difference in this world.

A Mission Central video was shown that chronicled the progress and scope of its mission since its beginning two decades ago. Today’s offering will be given to Mission Central to continue its good work.
One by one the ordinands knelt at the altar, and Bishop Park laid his hands on each and blessed them to take on the work of an elder. At the conclusion of the ceremony, they were greeted with thunderous applause as a welcome to and in celebration of their new roles in the Susquehanna Conference.

Bishop Park reminded us that we are all called to serve. He invited the people to come to the altar and offer themselves in service to God in whatever way they feel our Lord has called them. Many answered the call.

A video of this service and Bishop Yeakel's message is viewable at

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