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Celebrating hope and ministry

By: Rev. Eric Van Meter, DWU campus pastor

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Juwle Nagbe in surrounded by family members and the Dakotas Conference

In the midst of the pain and tension that looms over the United Methodist Church, Bishop Bruce Ough still sees reason to hope—particularly in those who give themselves to Christ’s work in the midst of the struggle.

“The power of death has been broken by Christ,” he reminded the Dakotas Annual Conference at Friday night’s celebration of life and ministry service at Legacy UMC. “The future is new and possible. Hope becomes our impulse to transform the world into God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”

Ough acknowledged the chasms that have widened among United Methodists in recent years. Several months after what he called “the painful and punitive actions of the 2019 Special General Conference,” neither institutional bodies nor individual members can see a clear path ahead. 

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Still, people continue to commit themselves to a life of ministry, despite the doubts, uncertainty, and anxiety. Ough depicts them as “prisoners of hope,” much like the Israelites in the time of Zechariah or the early Christians to whom Hebrews is written. Hope is part of the DNA for those who live in the narrative of the Resurrection.

“We have come to keep hope alive,” the bishop said. “And we keep hope alive by refusing to believe that either death of persons or death of dreams is the last word.”

Ough called on individuals to become practicing prisoners of hope, turning outward to care for others and remaining faithful, despite obstacles and discouragement. He praised those committing to a life of ministry for their willingness to hold to resurrection rather than despair.

 “Come and take authority to be sent into the world and into Christ’s Church,” he said. “Come that the church might witness and draw strength from hope that lies within you.”

During the service, the following persons were remembered, recognized, and celebrated:

Those Who Have Died

Grace E. Huck (August 12, 2018)
Dave Knech (September 11, 2018)
James Waisanen (November 4, 2018)
Minoru Tsukamota  (December 17, 2018)
Francis Kinzler (January 8, 2019)
Michael A. Ward (March 14, 2019)
Robert Roth (March 16, 2019)
Marilyn Nelson (April 7, 2019)

Clergy Spouses
Marion Muthiah, spouse of Reverend Lionel Muthiah (June 25, 2018)
Joy Custer, widow of Reverend Paul Custer (August 22, 2018)
Francis Wagner, widow of Reverend Robert Wagner (November 6, 2018)
Karla Leach Archer, widow of Reverend Darrel Leach (November 12, 2018)
Melba Brown, widow of Reverend Robert Brown (April 20, 2019)

The Retirement Class
James Konsor
Gwen Mader
John Price
Dick Rinearson
Perry Schnabel
David Severtsen

Comissioned and ordained
Jeff Lathrop, Jennifer McDonald, and Jeanne Sortland were commissioned by Bishop Bruce R. Ough.
Bishop Ough ordained Melissa Gall, Luke Smaith, and Joy Tracy were ordianed as deacons.
Nicole Anderson, Juwle S. Nagbe, and Mark Tracy were ordained as full elder in the Dakotas Conference.

Licensed Local Pastors
Jordan Bucholz serving Salem Unite
Christopher Chase serving Bismarck Celebrate Grace
Rey Colon, serving Huron First 
Brian Gregg serving Garretson
Julie Gregg serving Garretson
John Hale serving Cresbard and Tolstoy
Geoff Hilton serving Velva
Rodney Knock serving Plankinton and White Lake
Jason Mehring serving Fargo New Church Start
Teresa Person serving Brookings First
Joleen Pietrzak serving Arlington and Lake Preston
Travis Voeltz serving Luke 10 team, Edgeley/Ashley/Lehr
Brenda Wicks serving Carpenter


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