Here’s a post from guest blogger Ann Carter, on mission in Greece where she and her teammates are administering aid to Syrian refugees. She reports on a very special service that occurred over the weekend.
How many Baptist Deacons have been ordained in Greece on a site where the Apostle Paul actually preached? Not many, I would wager. But Shannon Harton was ordained as a deacon at the Saint Paul Tribune last night. After spending the day serving refugees awaiting resettlement in Camp Veria in northern Greece, the First Baptist team serving with Shannon ordained him as deacon in the dark, amidst the sound of traffic, at the place where it is believed that Paul preached to the Jews of Berea.
Note: Shannon was ordained at roughly the same time his five fellow candidates were being ordained in the sanctuary of Richmond’s First Baptist Church. Since he couldn’t be here, for that service, we asked Associate Pastor of Christian Compassion, Steve Blanchard, to conduct a service there, in Greece, just for Shannon. Shannon is in the center of the picture above. A statue of the Apostle Paul stands just behind him.
Deacon Ordination services are always special – a time when individuals are called out in service and leadership – through blessing and the laying on of hands, they are set apart to be the hands and feet of Christ in their congregation. Everyone who was ordained today is living out their faith in ways that are personal and authentic to them. It is exciting to see the way God works so uniquely in our lives.
It is especially exciting for one of our deacons to be ordained in the midst of service to “the least of these” in a place where Paul preached the good news of the hope we have in Christ.
From the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Thessaloniki, Greece (a mere 45 miles from where we sit) this is our prayer for all those who were ordained today:
“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you” (I Thess. 1:2-4).