A 'service of commission' lays the path of becoming an ordained minister. It is a milestone ceremony a candidate does 'not' want to miss. But last weekend the associate pastor of a Nacogdoches church could 'not' attend the state conference where ministers statewide take the vows in unison. The state Methodist conference fully understood why.
" Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find: knock, and the door will be opened for you," read a clergy Friday morning in Nacogdoches. So the doors of First United Methodist Church, Nacogdoches are opened for a very special service. The Methodist State Conference recessed in Houston and reconvened in Nacogdoches. This happens only for extreme circumstances, the kind Rick and Judy Anderson know all too well. Cancer has entered the lives of these two associate pastors at First Methodist. Judy Anderson, weak and wheelchair bound is battling it, while her husband attempts to meet her every need. Church leaders wanted Anderson to be commissioned in his wife's presence.
The couple is grateful. Anderson explained why it meant so much to him. " Judy agreed to take on a full time pastoral role in Corrigan so that I could go to seminary and she did that for four and half years. She's probably worked harder at this happening than I did so it was very important that she be here to see this today."
Vows of service were taken. And the answer each time from Anderson was, " I will with the help of Bod." with the help of God, is how Anderson faces his wife's illness, his responsibilities as a father of two, and his ministerial duties. So he willingly receives the blessings from others. Anderson said, " This community is doing that for me and my family now and I hope and pray that they will continue to do this for others."
The sanctuary was full of the Anderson's church family, as well as visiting friends from other churches as far away as Livingston. This is not a story of just a man, his wife and his church. Bishop Janice Riglle Huie said, " It affects the fabric of the whole community. It's a witness to the community, the larger witness of the strength of faith. "
Following the service as the congregation began to leave, pastors laid their hands over Judy Anderson and began to pray. As the organ played in joyful recognition to Rev. Anderson's accomplishment, there was an impromptu outreach of hands as the community joined in prayer.