The substance of commencement


Bishop Jonathan Keaton baptizes Harper Jane KrostThe 2014 Annual Conference reflected the substance of Commencement. Praise was conferred. New beginnings were initiated. And our faith was renewed.
A total of 30 pastors retired. To replace them, five persons were commissioned. And three were ordained as full members. Both groups have begun writing new chapters in their lives.
Five congregations received church growth awards. Although Beason UMC received 9, Mt. Olive UMC 14, Midland UMC 40, Geneseo First 57 and Fairview Heights Christ 90 professions of faith, their work of Christian Nurture has only begun.
We praised members of IGRC who now residing in the church triumphant. They will be remembered. Later, we affirmed persons ministering to our neighbors in Liberia, China, Zimbabwe, Central America, etc. Our witness in mission will never be done.
We sang the praise of all the above conferring on them plaudits like Cum Laude. If you had heard Dr. Lallene Rector, first woman President of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; General Secretary Barbara Boigegrain of the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits; Dr. Colleen Hester first woman President of MacMurray College; Bishop Hopkins’s Ordination Sermon, Dr. Terry Harter’s Cabinet Address and Morning Manna speaker Jessica Davenport deliver their messages, you would have been blessed and touched.
God’s call upon their lives revealed itself with a distinction of great praise or Magna Cum Laude. Biblically speaking, three acts of kindness garnered the distinction of Summa Cum Laude or the Highest Praise. 

  • First, IGRC raised over $2.5 million dollars for Imagine No Malaria for our neighbors in Africa. Children and families will be saved. Plus malaria’s death grip on poverty stricken folks will be loosened.
  • Second, tons of volunteers became servants of the annual conference. Jesus called servant leaders “the greatest.” (Mark 9:35).
  • Third, Harper Jane Krost was baptized during the Ordination Service. Harper became a member of Christ’s holy church. Moreover, we promised to help nurture baby Harper in the faith until she can profess her own faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Last but certainly not least, I offer TOTAL PRAISE to God. God’s grace, forgiveness, empowering spirit and direction brought us through Annual Conference 2014. It has equipped us for the days ahead. 
TOTAL PRAISE to God is better than Cum, Magna and Summa Cum Laude put together. “God is not through with us yet.”  Beverly and I thank God for the privilege of serving among you. Let’s keep the faith. (It’s the substance of things hoped for!!!)