General Conference Edition - Columbus, Ohio - Saturday Morning - Passing the Mantle
The weather here in
This morning’s service will be perhaps the highlight of the conference. Its theme was “Passing the Mantle.” Apparently the thought started with our General Superintendent Kenneth Haney. His vision was to pass along to a younger generation a greater sense of responsibility concerning the heritage of Apostolic doctrine. I had talked with Stephen Williams earlier via cell phone and he was holding me a seat when I walked in. We were a little ways back and so I went up and scouted around a bit and managed to get us a front row seat. After it was all over, I was thankful for that front row seat because the service was incredible. I might add that we are a little happier than we look. The fellow who took the picture caught us off-guard!
The service was started with G. A. Mangun followed by his son, Anthony Mangun, who was followed by his son, Gentry Mangun. All of these men read portions of Scripture from Joel and Acts 2. To watch the progression in this particular family further reiterated the very crucial importance of what we are passing down to generations.
After this beginning, there was a medley of songs that were sang by a varied group of singers. I wish that I would have written down the songs but I did not. We started with the old hymns and then ended with a praise and worship chorus.
Following the singing, Jesse Williams told of how that the Lord called him to
Pastor Mike Williams of
Following Mike Williams was Darryl (or maybe Derrick, as I am uncertain of the name) who is a grandson of Bro. Jesse Williams. He spoke of the treasure that had been passed on to him and then spoke of the responsibility of that treasure. With every treasure there must be a sense of care of what has been passed along to us. It is so important for the following generations to find the value and the vigilance that is associated with such a blessing.
Following this trio of men, we broke out and sang a song that many of the younger generation did not know. However, since we are fairly acquainted with all the old songs in
There was a very great liberty of the Spirit all the way through the service. It was very emotional and yet there was a great burden that I personally felt to continue to faithfully uphold my calling. I always do my best to make further and greater commitments to the Lord at these sorts of events and I did so again today. What this world has to offer is so insignificant in contrast to what God has for us and will reward us with when we make that final step.
Our General Superintendent then stepped to the pulpit and introduced on of the great stalwarts among us. J. T. Pugh has personally affected my life in more ways than one. You can read about them here and here. Bro. Haney also said that Bro. Pugh had deeply affected his commitment to God with his preaching, his character, and lifestyle over the years. Bro. Haney said that when he was 15 years old he heard Bro. Pugh preach for the very first time.
Bro. Pugh had a great word from the Lord for all of us in the house. He preached about “The Sons of the Second Crossing” and took his text from Joshua 1:1-9. I did not take notes while he preached (which is not my usual practice) because I wanted to try to absorb everything about his message. I will go back and listen again to this great message.
Following this was a drama of two men who were impersonating the Apostle Paul and Timothy. The gist of the drama was that Timothy was trying to shirk his responsibility into doing the will and purpose of God for his life. He was going to pursue a much lesser goal of becoming a physician and serving that ancient age in that role. The last question that “Paul” uttered was “Timothy, who else is going to take this mantle if you follow this path?” At that moment, “Paul” and “Timothy” both froze and Bro. Haney walked down and said, “I will take this mantle!”
Bro. Haney then took this mantle and begin to speak of men who have passed on to their reward in the last few years. Two that were mentioned by name were S. W. Chambers and N. A. Urshan. Both of these men were former General Superintendents and both of these men left quite a legacy. I am too young to remember Bro. Chambers but I will always remember Bro. Urshan. He signed my General License back in 1992.
Seated behind Bro. Haney were several hundred men who were honored as elders. In this group of men were my pastor and father-in-law, Joe Patterson, and my District Superintendent. I lost sight of Bro. Patterson as the elders wound around the front seating area but I did see Bro. Lewis. So when we were directed to go to an elder, I went to Bro. Lewis for the passing of the mantle. Bro. Haney had already read a charge to us (I will try and get a copy of that from someone) and we had accepted it. Now was the time when the elders would not only pass the mantle to us but would lay hands on us and pray for us. It was a very moving time. I believe that much will be accomplished in our lives from this service.
Afterwards, I saw Eddie Sermon from TBC, Michael Ensey (Texas District Youth President) who went to school with Mark Harrelson and Stephen Williams, and I also briefly saw Rodney Leamon who I have developed a friendship with in the last year or so.
I came away from this event with a huge amount of respect for the elders of the
I came away from this service with a heightened respect for the elders and I also came away with a greater love for the
On a closing note, I did manage to finally meet Don Ryan, who is a fellow pastor and RN. He pastors a church in