The North England Conference was gifted a blessed Sabbath on 27 November 2021 with the ordination and commissioning of three pastors: Michael Baker, Derek Simon and Colin Woodford. It was a time of spiritual refreshing, especially considering the challenging times over the last year and a half. The service was held at Leicester Central Seventh-day Adventist church.
The newly appointed administration of Pastors George Kumi and Emanuel Bran, and treasurer Mr Michael Agyei-Asare, led the service with the support of two pastors from the British Union Conference (BUC), Ian Sweeney and Eglan Brooks. Each candidate was introduced by their senior pastoral mentor, with the former NEC Pastor, Sam Appiah, joining via a pre-recorded message on behalf of Pastor Simon.
The outgoing BUC President, Ian Sweeney, shared an uplifting message focused on the passion and enthusiasm of Paul, who was committed to the gospel commission. He encouraged the candidates, including those listening in person and online, to share the Three Angel's Message irrespective of our challenges. Urging ministers and members alike, Pastor Sweeney called us to have a "one-track mind" as we endeavour to usher in the second coming of Jesus.
Fellow ordained ministers knelt around the three candidates and laid hands upon them as Pastor Brooks led the dedicatory prayer. Newley appointed NEC President, Pastor Kumi, then charged the ministers to endure the afflictions, do the work of an evangelist and fulfil the ministry.
Reflecting on this special occasion, Pastor Bran writes, "This vocation is not for the faint-hearted, for God needs men and women who are willing to sacrifice everything on the altar of ministry. I am encouraged to see how they have chosen the path of servant leadership when they could have easily been doing something else. I want to commend them and their family for this unwavering commitment as we embrace and congratulate them all."
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the most recent ordination and commissioning service occurred in 2019. Considering the ongoing hurdles, the local church employed several COVID-19 risk aversion measures to create a safe environment for the limited number of individuals who attended in person.
The Sabbath was undoubtedly a blessing and a high day that'll be remembered by all those who attended and watched online. May we continue to pray for our pastors and faithfully work together with them as we serve our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
With special thanks to Adriel Chitura and Owen Brocklehurst (photographers), and the NEC Communication team.