Commissioning service includes three from Eastern Pennsylvania

Barbara Skarbowski (above) and Sharon Hachtman were commissioned as deaconesses and Lilian (Luky) Cotto as a missionary of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries at Sunday’s commissioning service.  UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey.

Lilian (Luky) Cotto, Missionary of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries
  Church development, Eastern Pennsylvania Conference
“The Lord has been very faithful to me,” Luky says.  “God has blessed all the ministries given to me; now I am called to be a missionary–again.”  She took part in a short-term mission program from 2000 to 2003, working with migrants in Camden, New Jersey.  She has also served as an associate pastor.  “I listen to God’s voice and say, ‘here I am Lord, use me as you will.'”  Luky was born in Guatemala and encountered Methodism on a trip to the US as a young adult.  She and her husband, the Rev. Irving Cotto, have three adult sons.

Sharon Hachtman, Deaconess
  Turning Point of Lehigh Valley, Inc. (focused on domestic violence), and Fritz Memorial United Methodist Parish Nurse
“I am called to promote a faith community wellness team ministry and to work for the empowerment of victims of domestic violence,” Sharon says. Her work includes teaching, advocacy, and affirmative action by the faith community.  Long accustomed as a nurse to delivering God’s gifts of care and mercy, the role of deaconess has added an awareness that the face of mission must also include justice and servant leadership.  She and her husband Robert have a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren.

Barbara Skarbowski, Deaconess
Disability Resources Coordinator, Annual Conference Disability Concerns Committee
Barbara says that her “calling is to help eradicate exclusion and stigmatization of people with disabilities by helping them find their rightful place with church and society.”  She works to affirm and resource the church in its responsibility to engage in ministry with people with disabilities.  Her decision to become a deaconess was condirmed whte, despite many barriers, Goid’s call was stronger than anything else in her life.  Barbara is married to Col. Joseph S. Skarbowski and they have a son, Eric, and a daughter, Emily.

  Click here to read the full list of commissioned at the service on Sunday, April 29

United Methodists celebrate and commission 40 

By Elliott Wright and Mary Beth Coudal

April 30, 2012

A firefighter, a nursing supervisor, a counselor for ex-prisoners, an advocate for Haitian artists, an afterschool chess teacher, and a coordinator of relief volunteers – these were among the 17 new deaconesses and home missioners commissioned on Sunday, April 29 alongside 23 new missionaries of The United Methodist Church.

The solemn and joyous service took place at Palma Ceia United Methodist Church in Tampa with more than 500 in attendance during the 2012 meeting of the ten-day General Conference. Palma Ceia is a 66 year-old, 1,500-member church with a strong mission outreach.

The commissioning in the sanctuary overflowed into a fellowship hall wherein a video of the service was streamed locally and globally. The Rev. Dr. Kevin M. James, Sr., the church’s pastor and host, said it was “wonderful to have the global church at Palma Ceia.”

The new mission personnel confirmed a call to a lifetime of mission, “led by the Spirit of God to engage in this work.” They promised to pray, read the Bible, increase their skills, and do their work “in sincerity and love,” witnessing to the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Bishop Bruce R. Ough of West Ohio, president of the global ministries’ agency, presided at the service of commissioning.  At the start of the service, Thomas Kemper, head of the mission agency, and Harriett Jane Olson, head of the Women’s Division, led a litany on the importance of missionaries and deaconesses in Scripture and the Methodist tradition, expressing trust …

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