Installing pastor calls for church unity to bless, renew and refresh the city
|The Rev. Dwayne Hunt installs the Rev. Roberta Wilburn|
Speaking at the historic installation of the first woman as president of the ecumenical Spokane Ministers’ Fellowship, the Rev. Dwayne Hunt, pastor at Abundant Grace Fellowship in Memphis, Tenn., observed that even though national chain stores give the impression that cities look alike, each city and its people have differences and personalities.
Dwayne was the pastor and mentor for the Rev. Roberta Wilburn, who was being installed, when she was in Memphis.
“Each city has its own spirituality,” he said. “Much of God’s dealing with us is about our city.”
He said God told the Israelites in captivity in Babylon to pray for the city in which they live. He told of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem for not knowing the “things that make for peace.”
“What is Jesus’ message to the city of Spokane and who does Spokane say Jesus is?” he asked, suggesting that because Christ is the “Son of God,” churches are not just messengers to bring truth and deliverance, because the Son is about relationships.
“Are relationships happening among us?” Dwayne asked. “Are we in right relationships?
“It’s not about how well pastors preach or how many come to church, but whether people know by Christians’ love that they are in right relationships with one another,” Dwayne said.
He also challenged pastors and others gathered that they need to know what to do in the times in which they live.
“God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but God says, ‘Behold, I do a new thing.’ Times change so fast we measure time in nanoseconds. Every corporation and business tries to figure out how to get ahead. I just bought an S4 cell phone and then the S5 came out. We are constantly working to improve things. Christians need to deal with a fast-moving society or they become irrelevant and uninteresting,” Dwayne said.
Christians are responsible for caring for both the older and the younger generations.
“We think young people are to come to us, but we need to go to them, to minister in their context, to know what to do for each particular occasion,” he said.
Dwayne commented that politicians give out keys to the city that don’t open anything, but God gives pastors keys to the success of their city to unlock it spiritually, to bless the city spiritually.
Dwayne installed the Rev. Amos Atkinson as vice president, Pastor Joe Veliz as secretary, the Rev. Eugene Singleton as chaplain and Pastor A.S. Rhodes as treasurer, calling them to promote the peace, unity and effectiveness of Spokane’s churches.
James Wilburn, president of the Spokane Chapter of the NAACP and Roberta’s husband, recounted both her academic credentials and her reliance on God through two bouts of cancer. She has been cancer free for 10 years.
He said after working as associate dean of graduate studies in education and diversity initiatives at Whitworth University, she now knows that Christian higher education is her calling.
In installing her, Dwayne said the votes to elect her affirm her, so she knows she is trusted to provide leadership of the fellowship.
“God is doing something special in Spokane through a woman,” he said, pointing out that women bring different perspectives.
“Stand together as one church to shake the city,” he said. “Together as one church we are whole, so the city will be blessed, renewed and refreshed.”
Citing the fellowship’s motto—“dwelling together in unity”—Roberta said that when people are one, nothing can be withheld because each brings different talents to share to bless the city.”
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