A Celebration of Ministry: Pour the Oil

June 15, 2023

Thursday evening witnessed a momentous service at First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge as congregants gathered for the Celebration of Ministry Service.

The focal point of the evening was the ordination of three deacons in the Louisiana Conference; Rev. Tiffany Lyon, Rev. Latrice Mallard, and Rev. Carol Twyman.

Also recognized were two commissioned deacons, Rev. Katrena King and Rev. Magdeline Russo, and a commissioned elder, Rev. Johnathan C. Richardson.

Bishop Delores J. Williamston made history once again as she presided over her inaugural ordination service as a bishop in the United Methodist Church. Her remarkable journey as the first African American bishop in the Louisiana Conference has been an inspiration to many.

Assuming her role in January of this year, Bishop Williamston wasted no time in immersing herself in the work of the church and the community she serves. With grace and wisdom, she led the service, embracing the sacred responsibility of ordaining individuals into the ministry with utmost reverence.

Bishop Williamston's presence and leadership have already begun to make a profound impact on the Louisiana Conference and beyond, and she continues to pave the way for a more inclusive and diverse future within the United Methodist Church.

Bishop Williamston, drawing on the story of The Widow's Olive Oil, found in 2 Kings 4:1-7, looked at each of the candidates and said, "You have been called to a lifetime of Pouring the Oil!"

"Remember that God can take a little oil, a little something that we have, and turn it into a whole heck of a lot! When we have faith and shut the door on unbelief, and extend ourselves beyond ourselves and trust in God as we pour oil into the kingdom of God, from the gifts God gives us," said Bishop Williamston, "And if we do that, we’d be blessed in all we do. We’d be blessed in the city, in the fields, we’d be blessed when we come in and go out, we’d be blessed by whatever we put our hands to. We’d be blessed with plenty!"

Her sermon continued, "You Just gotta pour the oil! Whether it’s in your personal lives or in the life of the
ministries, God has placed each of us. Your ordination and commissions are grand reminders to us all to pour the oil. And we celebrate with you and will be alongside you to pour the oil."
"Pour the oil of the good news of Jesus Christ, pour the oil of healing, pour the oil of blessing into someone else’s life! Pour the oil of kindness, brotherly and sisterly love into your communities, in your ministries, at the gas station or store! Pour the oil that God gives you, to pour, into empty vessels"

Following a series of examining questions for the newly ordained deacons and provisional members, Bishop Williamston extended an invitation to all the laity present, urging them to stand.

Addressing the faithful, she called upon them to embrace their role as steadfast supporters of the church. The bishop asked the laity to affirm and receive the newly ordained men and women as devoted servants of Jesus Christ and to pledge their unwavering support.

The laity responded joyfully, reaffirming their faith in Christ and their covenant to uphold the mission and ministry of the church, pledging to fully support the newly ordained ministers in their shared ministry endeavors.

The atmosphere at First United Methodist Church was elevated by the incredible music presented by The First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir under the skilled direction of Lamar Drummonds. Holden Miller played the organ, while Sara Cage, a soprano of extraordinary talent, graced the celebration with her exquisite voice. Accompanying the choir and soloists was the accomplished cellist Dr. Susannah Knoll. 

As the evening came to a close, the congregation united their voices to sing the hymn "Go Make of All Disciples." With 'Hope' as the theme of the 2023 Annual Conference, the final stanza resonated loudly for all those in the sanctuary or viewing online as everyone sang, "We take Thy guiding hand; The task looms large before us, We follow without fear, In heaven and earth. Thy power Shall bring God's kingdom here." 

The Celebration of Ministry Service served as a powerful reminder of the importance of collective support and unwavering commitment within the church.

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