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:
Debra Stevens Salem UMC Pottstown
Israel Olivieri, Jr. Asbury UMC Allentown
Ann Tinner Pocono Lake UMC
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