The Eastern PA Conference has six new Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs), who graduated May 7 in a service of recognition at Montgomery Square UMC. With this seventh class to complete the CLM process, the Conference now has 51 active Certified Lay Ministers.

The 2017 graduates (front, from left) are: Ann Tinner of Pocono Lake UMC; Angela J. Anderson of St. Daniel’s UMC Chester; Carrie Argro, also of St. Daniel’s UMC Chester; Debra Stevens of Salem UMC Pottstown; Joanne Hennessy Slawter of Mount Hope UMC Aston; and Israel Olivieri, Jr. of Asbury UMC Allentown. Behind them are Bishop Peggy Johnson (left) and CLM program director Judy Ehninger. John Coleman photos.

6 new Certified Lay Ministers graduate (Class of 2017)

Six lay members of the Eastern Pa Conference became Certified Lay Ministers (CLM) May 7 in a service of recognition at Montgomery Square UMC. They are the seventh class to complete the CLM process. The Conference now has 51 active Certified Lay Ministers.

The 2017 graduates and their home churches are:

Central District

Debra Stevens                            Salem UMC Pottstown

Northeast District

Israel Olivieri, Jr.                      Asbury UMC Allentown
Ann Tinner                                 Pocono Lake UMC

Southeast District

Angela J. Anderson                    St. Daniel’s UMC
Carrie Argro                                 St. Daniel’s UMC
Joanne Hennessy Slawter         Mount Hope UMC 

Bishop Peggy Johnson preached an inspiring message titled “I Prefer the Neck” from Luke 14: 7-11, following Conference Lay Leader David Koch’s reading of the scripture. She reminded listeners that we are called to be servants, demonstrating to all humility and service in love.

Bishop Johnson presented certificates to the graduates, assisted: by the Rev. Andrew Foster III; David Koch; the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Southeast District Superintendent; and the Rev. Christopher Kurien, Director of Connectional Ministries.

Carrie Argro offered thanks and other remarks on behalf of the graduating class, challenging all to celebrate the transformative journey the CLM program provided. She urged laity in the congregation to consider the crossroads and answer the call to follow paths to deeper commitment and service.

The Revs. Misty Fuller, Janet Hess, Walter Carter, Maridel Whitmore, and Foster all served as course instructors. Program Director Judy Ehninger thanked and praised the instructors, saying, “We give thanks for these dedicated clergy, who share their wisdom and expertise, and moreover, the gift of time, to prepare CLM graduates.

“As coordinator of the CLM program,” Ehninger added, “I have come to believe strongly that this training provides laity a path to expanding ministry in the Wesleyan tradition.   Becoming a Certified Lay Minister will enable these graduates to facilitate the clergy-laity partnership in making disciples of Jesus Christ. Today, we celebrate the gifts of ministry God has given to each of these individuals. We commend their calling to be certified as lay ministers of The United Methodist Church. We believe that God wills the use of their gifts, graces, and talents for his service.”

Graduates are currently serving their churches in multiple positions of leadership, including Lay Leader, Lay Member to Annual Conference, Bible study leader, volunteer coordinator, prayer ministry coordinator, and other leadership positions on local, district, and conference boards and agencies.

The 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline states there will be Certified Lay Ministers, which the Bishop may assign to a church under the supervision of an Elder. This program offers an opportunity for laity to be more effective in ministry in the local church and community.

The next class, of 11 students, began the process with Module 1 on April 29. They should complete the course work by November. Required orientation sessions for the admission to the 2018 class will begin in August. Laity interested in participating must first attend an orientation session, where all requirements are presented.  Candidates must be recognized as active Christ Servant Ministers for a minimum of two years to begin the program

For additional information contact Judy Ehninger, at 610-965-2290 or ehninger@ptd.net, or visit the www.christservantministries.net website and use a direct link to program information.