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On Sunday, June 13 our congregation will commission our newest Stephen Minister, Susan Woods and recognize Chris Russoniello and Karen Davis, from the Middlebush Reformed Church, for completing the Stephen Ministry training a second time.

Throughout history, when God has called people to special ministry, members of their community have commissioned them for the important new work they are taking on.  Now we invite you to help carry on that biblical tradition by being a part of commissioning Susan who has responded to God’s call to be part of our congregation’s Stephen Ministry.

All of our Stephen Ministers have gone through substantial trading to equip them for their task.  We now lay hands on Susan and pray for her and Chris and Karen before they are sent out to minister, asking for God’s blessing and Spirit’s wisdom and power.  

The commissioning service offers an opportunity to show our support for this ministry.  Our Stephen Ministers have all depended on our support as they assume the duties of their ministry.  How can we help? 
First of all, we can pray for our Stephen Ministers and their care receivers.  This ministry calls for both time and effort.  At times they may feel tired, discouraged, or convinced that they are not accomplishing anything.  The assurance of our prayers and appreciation will help them keep moving forward.

We can also affirm and show our appreciation for this valuable ministry.  We can tell them how much their hard work means to us, tell others how much we value our Stephen Ministry, and focus attention on our Stephen Ministers to bless and affirm them in special ways as we do with our commission services.  

We can become involved in this ministry in many ways.  Some of us may recognize a call to use our special gifts in this ministry and may apply to be a Stephen Leader or Stephen Minister.  Others may accept the care of a Stephen Minister. We can be ministers of referral, watching for people in need and suggesting a Stephen Minister’s care.  We all can give our enthusiastic support by keeping Stephen Ministry always before us and praying for and affirming those who have answered God’s call to serve in this way.

As we commission Susan Woods and recognize the other Stephen Ministers, let us thank God for all that they will bring to this congregation in providing care to others, and let us promise them our daily prayer and support as we send them out to minister among us.