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A Moment for Mission

"Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them." —Psalm 91:14-15a, NRSV

God's call to the ordained ministry can be like a giant thunderbolt or a gentle nudge. The Rev. J. Oscar Dickerson was a high school student in Greenville, Sinoe County, Liberia, when he realized God wanted him to be more than an active church member.

"Even though I took part in almost every aspect of the church—United Methodist Youth Fellowship, Young Adult Fellowship, church school, choir and prayer band—the most important part of the service was when the pastor mounted the pulpit to preach," Dickerson said. "Whenever that happened, I would ask myself, 'Can you do this? Can you spread the gospel of Jesus to the rest of the world? Can you pray for the sick and the brokenhearted?'"

In 1996, he entered the School of Theology at the United Methodist University in Monrovia, Liberia. Ordained in 2003, Dickerson is now an assistant professor of language at the William V.S. Tubman University in Liberia.

More than 5,000 miles away, in Minneapolis, the Rev. Greg Renstrom said he was blessed to be raised in an encouraging congregation, where the pastor was "almost the personification of his call." His example, Renstrom said, "was terrifically inspiring. He extended opportunities to serve, and he shared his time." That clergyman inspired Renstrom to answer God's call, and, he noted, "it's never changed."

Through the Ministerial Education Fund, United Methodists support seminaries, course-of-study programs for local pastors and continuing education for active clergy.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, bless those whom you call to ordained ministry. Guide their work as they lead and nurture your children. Show us how to be supportive. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: First Sunday in Lent — Holy Source of all good things, we bring our tithes and offerings to your altar in gratitude and in full knowledge that we are not deserving of the many blessings you have poured into our lives. Our offering cannot begin to repay the many gifts we have received, most clearly the gift of our redemption through your son Jesus Christ. May our act of giving be the proclamation of our hearts to all the world that we are so desperately in need of a savior; and in love, you provided Jesus. By your love alone, we boldly pray in Christ's holy name. Amen. (Romans 10:8b-13)

Newsletter Nugget
"After months of deep spiritual stirring," the Rev. Melissa Hinnen recalled, "I was part of a prayer team and was laying hands during a healing service at my church. I felt the Spirit pouring through me and felt like God was using every ounce of who I am.

"I wrote in my journal that I finally understood what it meant when people said God was calling them."

A few weeks later, at annual conference, Hinnen sat in tears during the ordination service because, she said, "everything the bishop said to the ordinands resonated with me." That Monday, she picked up an application to New York Theological Seminary. Eight years later, in June 2018, she was ordained. Today, Hinnen serves Asbury United Methodist Church, Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

When congregations support the Ministerial Education Fund, they help people like the Rev. Melissa Hinnen fulfill their dreams. The fund assists seminaries, course-of-study programs for local pastors and continuing education for active clergy. Thank you!

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