All fourteen candidates for commissioning as Elders or Deacons kneel as Bishop Elaine Stanovsky prays over each. Photo by Greg Nelson.
Story by Angie Kiblinger | Photos by Bill Vollmer, Rev. DJ del Rosario, Greg Nelson, Patrick Scriven, and Teri Tobey
The Battle Ground High School Jazz combo set a welcoming tone at the 2017 Commissioning and Ordination Service of the Shared Pacific Northwest and Oregon-Idaho Annual Conferences at 2pm on Saturday, June 17th.
Bishop Elaine Stanovsky opened the service inviting Duane Medicine Crow to offer a prayer.
The ceremony included the commissioning of 14 candidates (11 Provisional Elders, 3 Provisional Deacons), the ordination of one Deacon and ordination of two Elders across both the Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences. (A complete list can be found below.)
Working her way through the service’s extensive liturgy, Bishop Elaine announced that “the church confirms your calling” and encouraged those being commissioned and ordained, “to look after the concerns of God above all.” The Bishop asked a series of questions of the candidates for commissioning and ordination who responded to each question with “I will, with the help of God.”
Rev. Jeremy Smith delivered an entertaining and heartfelt sermon, using a hiking analogy to encourage the candidates that they were “making it” on their journey and that they must care for those on the periphery of society. Continuing the analogy, Rev. Smith noted that just as a loss of feelings in one’s extremities can alert one to a health issue, so might a lack of concern for those on the periphery point to a heart issue in the church.
Wearing white robes, many adorned with a simple cross, the candidates took the stage, kneeled and folded their hands. In their faces you could sense both the solemnity and joy of the moment. The Bishop called each by name as she laid her hands upon them, with their supporters proudly standing behind each.
After the newly commissioned provisional Elders and Deacons left the stage, Rev. Jill Plant came to the stage to be ordained as a Deacon. As she kneeled, the Bishop called her by name and laid her hands upon her head. Next, they both placed their hands on a Bible. Finally, a diagonal stole of many colors was placed around her and she embraced her husband and three children with an enthusiastic smile on her face. Jill’s stole was hand quilted by a congregant to represent the elements of fire and water and a dove representing the holy Spirit in a stained glass pattern.
Next, the Bishop ordained as Elders Revs. Cody Natland and Nico Romeijn-Stout as each kneeled and were called by name as she placed her hands on their heads. As Cody rose, his father-in-law placed a red stole around his neck, and he was embraced by his wife Crystal and their two small children. His stole was a gift from his wife’s grandfather. She is now a third generation preacher’s wife.
Bishop Elaine and Rev. Jeremy presided over Holy Communion which was served by the newly commissioned and ordained.
Following the ceremony, Cody was still adjusting to wearing the stole, having never worn one in public before, only in the mirror anticipating this day.
As Nico took a call from his uncle who was watching the live stream from the Netherlands, he shared that his stole was a gift from his District Superintendent. It was hand woven by women in the Philippines who were previously sex workers.
Alyssa Baker, one of the newly commissioned who is about to begin her assignment at Open Door Churches of Salem Kaiser shared, “It feels like an affirmation. I know this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Angie Kiblinger serves as Communications Leader for Hillsboro United Methodist Church in the Oregon-Idaho Conference.
2017 Class of Commissioned and Ordained Deacons and Elders
Ordained as Elders:
Cody Natland – Pacific Northwest Conference
Nico Romeijn-Stout – Pacific Northwest Conference
Ordained as Deacon:
Jill Plant – Oregon-Idaho Conference
Commissioned as Provisional Elders:
Alyssa Baker – Oregon-Idaho Conference
Pam Brokaw – Pacific Northwest Conference
Micah Coleman-Campbell – Pacific Northwest Conference
Melinda Giese – Pacific Northwest Conference
Dylan Hyun – Oregon-Idaho Conference
Marc Kennedy – Pacific Northwest Conference
Joe Kim – Pacific Northwest Conference
Paul Ortiz – Pacific Northwest Conference
Katy Shedlock – Pacific Northwest Conference
Heather Sparkman – Pacific Northwest Conference
Heather Riggs – Pacific Northwest Conference
Commissioned as Provisional Deacons:
Anna Eckelbarger Salas – Oregon-Idaho Conference
Kristin Joyner – Pacific Northwest Conference
Jenny Willison – Oregon-Idaho Conference