Annual Conference 2008 to conclude with Commissioning Service in Huntsville on June 22
On Sunday, June 22, the North Alabama Conference will conclude with a holy time of worship at Huntsville First UMC at 5 p.m. as it commissions the new class of probationary elders and deacons. This will make up the second class of Residents in Ministry in the North Alabama Conference
This service will conclude with an altar call for others who are feeling a call to ordained ministry. So congregations are encouraged to bring those who are feeling such a call to ministry to experience this time of worship.
Commissioning may be compared to the experience of the early church in Antioch when the Holy Spirit instructed the community to "set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13) The probationary period and the mentoring relationship that characterizes it can also be seen in light of the relationship of Paul and Ananias (Acts 9) when the newly called evangelist was guided toward the fullness of his calling by the more seasoned elder.
Commissioning implies that the person is being "sent" by the Annual Conference for service, and the Annual Conference invokes the Holy Spirit to empower commissioned ministers during their time of probationary membership. The probationary period is a time of full service and temporary stage in one's journey toward ordination, and full membership in the Annual Conference ministry is concluded when the person is received as a full member of the Annual Conference and ordained as a deacon or elder, or as a decision is made not to proceed toward ordination.
There will be a Clergy processional to begin the service. All clergy should gather to robe outside Sunday school room 214. They will line up beginning in the vestibule near room 214 at 4:45. Clergy are asked to wear black robes and red stoles.
A reception will follow the service in the Wesley Center atrium, directly across Greene Street from the sanctuary.