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From Elijah to Elisha: Faithful servants pass the mantle on

From Elijah to Elisha: Faithful servants pass the mantle on

David Dodge and Bishop Ken Carter recognize retirement of Montfort Duncan with wife Martha Gay
Above, from left, Rev. David Dodge of Clergy Excellence and Bishop Ken Carter recognize the retirement of Rev. Mont Duncan, executive director of New Church Development, who is accompanied by his wife, Martha Gay. Below, retiring clergy Rev. Denman Jones passes the mantle to ordinand Jaime Faberlle. Photos by Armando Rodriguez Jr.

LAKELAND – If you multiplied the more than two dozen clergy members preparing to retire this summer by the number of people in even a modest-size congregation or worship group, the lives changed by those servants of God would be eye-opening.

Bishop Ken Carter gave thanks Friday for all that service and the lives changed as a result during the Annual Conference Celebration of Retirement.

He told the retirees, “Never think lightly of the great good that God has wrought through you.  And continue to be true to your calling. This is a transition, not a finale.  This is an opening to new horizons of service, not the end of the road. May God’s love and power be with you always.”

Those retiring had written personal farewells to the conference that were read as they took the stage, many with their spouses at their sides.

The retiring servants are Herb Angel, Daniel Baker, John Beasley, William Beebe, Guido Benazet, Paul Butler, Dan Campbell, Don Corbit, Montfort Duncan, Bruce Ebert, Saul Espino, Georgia Gaston, Richard Jenks, Greer Jensen, Denman Jones, Kim Joyner, Barry Lane, JoAnn Mann, Phil Maynard, Mary Beth Packard, Thomas Pfaff, Larry Potts Philip Roughton, Hardy Sandlin, Brette Sanford, Richard Walker, John Wannall, Charles Weaver, Thomas Weber and Douglas Zipperer.

The service concluded with the passing of the mantle, in which Rev. Denman Jones of Cypress Lake UMC, as a member of the retiring class, placed the mantle on the shoulders of Rev. Jaime Faberlle, who was ordained as an elder later Friday. 

Jones spoke the words, “I transfer this mantle from our generation to the young, indicating thereby that the responsibilities and dedication of the older generation will be caught up and carried on by the young, and the spirit of today’s Elijahs will rest upon today’s Elishas.”

Church anniversaries

Churches celebrating 25 years of ministry are Faith, Fort Myers; Ocala West, Marion; Forest, Silver Springs; and Deer Lake, Tallahassee.

Churches celebrating 50 years of ministry are Bear Lake, Apopka; Big Pine, Big Pine Key; Faith, Gainesville; Lake Gibson, Lakeland; Emmanuel, Melbourne; and Calvary, Tallahassee.

Churches celebrating 100 years of ministry are Dinsmore, Jacksonville; Calvary, Lake Worth; McCalls Chapel, Bradford; Scott Chapel, Melbourne; Riverside, Miami; and Community, San Antonio.

Churches celebrating 125 years of ministry are Franklinton, Fernandina Beach; Community, Lake Como; McIntosh UMC; Pierson UMC; First UMC, Seffner; First; and First UMC, Wauchula.

Churches celebrating 150 years of ministry are Trinity, Lake City; and First UMC, Starke.

Clergy anniversaries

Consecrated diaconal minister -1988

Bette Davis
Felicia E. Fina
Thomas C. Willetts, Jr.
Betty Foley Williams

Ordained deacon – 1988

Christopher T. Akers
Thomas K. Black
Erich E. Hamm
Harold R. Hendren
Migdalia L. Icaza-Willetts
Jerry C. Johnson
Scott F. Jones
J. David Juliano
Chung Baek Kim
Jacqueline M. Leveron
Earsel L. Lewis
Philip R. Maynard
John D. Peterson
Jeanne Reames
Frank K. Reynolds
Phillip Short
Linda C. Standifer
Todd H. Stube
Joseph S. Teague
J. Robert Wannall

Ordained deacon – 1963

Kenneth C. Blitch
Larry E. Cook
James T. Jackson
Richard E. Gantz
John S. Gatewood, Jr.
David S. Lindsay
Neal K. Long
Aldo A. Martin
Joseph S. Philbeck
J. Gordon Ralls
Richard W. Rohrer
Joseph D. Smith, Jr.
Ira Carroll Starling, Jr.
Rand Sutherland
J. William Talbott
R. Jack Taylor, Sr.
Larry E. Webb
Gregory L. Wood

Ordained Deacon – 1943

S.S. Robinson 
G. William Sims
Lee. R. Van Sickle

-- Anne Dukes is a freelance writer based in Atlanta.