Message from Vic Casad: June 1, 2018
Notes from the Heartland
According to the Texas Methodist Centennial Yearbook, 1834 – 1934, the official history of the North Texas Conference began in 1867. It was first called the Trinity Conference and was formally organized in … get ready for it … Sulphur Springs, Texas. It remained the Trinity Conference until 1874 when the name was changed to the North Texas Conference.
The Centennial Yearbook states that the Sulphur Springs conference convened on Oct. 9, 1867. That year Andrew Johnson was president, the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars and Texas was in the middle of Reconstruction.
Assuming that there was an annual conference every year since 1867, then our 2018 North Texas Annual Conference convening at First UMC Richardson this Sunday will be the 151st gathering of north Texas Methodists.
The highlight of every Annual Conference session is the election and ordination of new clergy into the United Methodist Church.
This Sunday afternoon, seven men and five women will stand before Bishop McKee in the clergy session and publicly answer a series of questions.
Among these questions are:
- Have you faith in Christ?
- Are you going on to perfection?
- Do you expect to be made perfect in love in the life?
- Are you earnestly striving after it?
- Are you resolved to devote yourself wholly to God and his work?
There are 19 questions in all. And it is expected that all of the questions will be answered with a resounding “yes!” except one. That one is: Are you in debt so as to embarrass you in your work?
When the questions are answered to the Bishop’s satisfaction, he then asks for a vote. Each candidate is elected first into covenant membership of clergy of the North Texas Conference and then voted to receive Elder or Deacon orders. (One will be ordained a Deacon.) By the time these folks have gotten to this point, they have spent years in educational preparation and intense observation. It is a moment of great joy and relief when you hear your name announced that you have been elected and the room erupts in thunderous applause.
I’m sure in 151 years the North Texas Conference has ordained a few thousand men and women into the ranks of United Methodist clergy, but this Sunday there will be 12 news ones surrendering themselves into the lifelong ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service.
Go to the Annual Conference website to see pictures of these 12 and say a prayer of blessing and appreciation for their dedication and service to the church for years to come.
In His Service and Yours,
Published: Friday, June 1, 2018