A month of ordinations marks God’s calling pastoral leaders

by Noah Kolb, Plains, nkolb@franconiaconference.org

Three ordinations in 30 days—this is probably the most ordinations Franconia Conference has ever had in one month! These ordinations bear witness to God’s Spirit at work in calling persons at various stages in life and the impact of leaders and congregations on preparing persons to receive that call. These ordinations represent a significant journey of persons being “equipped to empower others to embrace God’s mission.” They undergird our call to be intercultural, formational and missional. God continues to call women and persons of other cultures to leadership among us. Ordination is the church’s way of recognizing these whom God is calling to lead and who are prepared to make long-term commitments in response. It is an incredible joy for me to act on behalf of the Franconia Conference in affirming and confirming the work of God’s Spirit in “setting apart” credible leaders for the mission to which God has called us.

Marta Castillo
(ordained May 7 as associate pastor at Nueva Vida Norristown New Life)

Marta Castillo first responded to God as a child of missionary parents in Indonesia. She renewed that commitment when she moved to Norristown and joined Nueva Vida Norristown New Life. Having served faithfully in most every leadership position in the congregation she was called to a pastoral responsibility. Her spiritual leadership and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit was affirmed at her ordination, which was conducted in two languages. There was great rejoicing and celebration as the multicultural congregation gathered to worship and celebrate. As a woman married to a Latino, she and her family enrich the congregation and provide wonderful leadership. The ordination was a confirmation and blessing for Marta and the congregation.Jenifer Eriksen Morales' ordination

Jenifer Eriksen Morales
(ordained May 15 as a conference LEADership Minister)

Jenifer Eriksen Morales was nurtured in the womb of the church at Alpha Mennonite. Her childhood pastor, Henry Swartley, was a great model and nurtured her to love the church while also challenging it. After a brief time in social work Jenifer responded to affirmation and a call to church leadership. Her ability to adapt to changing and difficult experiences has prepared her to do “Transitional Ministry” in Conference and churches. Her ordination service brought together many different people with whom she has journeyed. Most noticeable was the large number of children and young adults as well as neighbors. Together they blessed her and set her apart for the ministry to which she has committed herself. She and her husband are members of Souderton Mennonite, the congregation that called for her ordination.

Paulus Thalathoti's ordinationPaulus Thalathoti
(ordained June 6 for ministry to people from India)

Paulus Thalathoti came to this country from India in 1994 for theological training. After several years in this country, Paulus and his family discovered Plains Mennonite. He was attracted to Anabaptism and “servant leadership.” Paulus has a deep passion for his people and in 2005 began a fellowship for Indian families in the local area. Plains blessed this ministry and called for his credentialing. Four years later Paulus was ordained on a Sunday morning. He was blessed by the presence and participation of the congregation and many Indian families. Testimonies were shared and leaders gathered around him in prayer and blessing. A wonderful intercultural potluck followed the service.