Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Commissioned

Last night I had the pleasure and priviledge to help commission ten new Stephen Ministers, Christian lay-counselors, into our Perimeter Church fold. It was a wonderful experience, and reminded me of my own commissioning last year. I'm reposting today what I wrote in April '09:

So now I’m a Stephen Minister; the commissioning ceremony was last night. Twelve others and I met with the other ministers and officially accepted into the ministry. It really was a powerful evening.

First of all, I went alone because Linley had come down with tonsillitis that day and was feeling pretty bad, so she and Jill stayed home but they did send me off with hugs and smiles of pride. I know I have their support.

We began with a brief social so that new and old ministers could get to know one another, and then went into the prayer room. Perimeter has a prayer team that meets at the church several times a week to pray for the church, congregation, community and more. Before this group we took our oath, answering “Yes, with the help of God,” to each question. It was a reminder to us that we are not healers, only messengers. God is the healer. Then we received our Stephen Ministry certificates.

After the formal commissioning, each new minister was lead away by two members of the prayer team who asked what weighed heavily on us, and then prayed for us individually. It was overwhelming to hear two people pray so earnestly and personally for me and my family. I am rich with blessings already, but if God finds favor in me as these two people asked him to, I’m going to be hard pressed to describe my gratitude. I tell you, it makes me want to serve Him even more.

Next we gathered in a circle and were asked to hold our hands out palms up. An Elder went around to each of us and anointed us, making the sign of the cross in each palm with francenscence oil. As he did so another Elder read to us the story of Stephen from the book of Acts. After each of us was anointed, we were asked to hold hands. As we did the prayer team gathered around us, laid hands on our shoulders, and took turns praying out loud for us.

I kid you not, warmth filled my hands, and I felt warm vibrations radiating from their hands on my shoulders into and throughout my body. Their words lifted my heart. The ceremony was as powerful as when I became baptized.
When it was over we all congratulated each other, Carla, my prayer partner during the training, and I hugged and made plans to meet with our spouses for a glass of wine next week, and then everyone went their separate ways.

As I got into the car I found two notes sitting on the passenger seat. Jill and Linley had driven to the church to deliver them, wanting me to know they were there for me even though they couldn’t attend the ceremony.

What a night. I’m proud to be a Stephen Minister.

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