June 19, 2015
By Bishop Thomas H. McGhee
As always it is a tremendous honor to preside over the annual conferences as assigned each year. The Sonshine Conference was certainly no exception. Bishop Ray Willis did an excellent job planning for this year’s 2015 Celebration held at the beautiful North Orlando Marriott in Lake Mary, Florida. The Celebration began on Wednesday night with anointed worship and the powerful preaching ministry of Beth Stephens. Bishop Willis reported that many were blessed and requested that she return to minister in the future.
Thursday morning was dedicated to a number of training sessions. Then, the Ministers’ Wives Fellowship hosted a reception at 5pm prior to the evening service. That evening the guest speaker was Rev. Ron Phillips from Chattanooga. He spoke powerfully about the beckoning of the Holy Spirit and challenged those in attendance to respond to where the Spirit wants to take us in the future.
Friday morning was the official business session for the Sonshine Conference. After opening prayer and introduction by Bishop Willis, I was once again blessed to present the devotional emphasis on our Core Value, “We Prayerfully Value Pentecost.” Rachel King then presented her Discipleship Ministries Report followed by Barbara Kleffel’s report on Missions. Former Superintendent Orren Simpson presented the Memoirs report. Bishop Ray Willis gave the “State of the Conference Report.”
He expressed deep appreciation for the leaders of the Conference and the good team spirit that existed among them as they faced challenges with unity and commitment. He stated that he would further challenge the leaders in the evening message that would conclude the 2015 Conference Celebration. His report was received with great appreciation. Assistant Superintendent Donavan Tinsley presented the Examining Committee Report. As a result of the report five ministers were receiving license and eight were to be ordained in the evening service. They were:
Bernard Douglas Cox
Andrew Christian Walker
Daymond Scott Westergard
Raymond Lee Wilcox
Suzanne Ruth Brabham
William Green III
William H. Green IV
John A. Jackson
Gilles M. Leduc
As presiding officer, I shared a scripture passage and charged the new ministers as to the meaning of receiving credentials. After the presentation of their license by Bishop Willis and special prayer over them, the conference was adjourned.
Friday evening was a special service. After a short time of praise and worship we moved into the ordination service for the eight candidates being presented. After the ordination service, Assistant Superintendent Donavan Tinsley led in a special time of appreciation for Superintendent Ray Willis and his wife Peggy. They were honored with a generous offering from the conference and local churches. Bishop and Mrs. Willis expressed their sincere appreciation for this time in their life and the joy of ministry.
Following a time of worship led by a wonderful choir, Bishop Willis brought a powerful message on the danger of “Vision Drift.” He shared from scripture the necessity of hearing from God before we see results. Bishop Willis is an excellent preacher of the Word and the congregation responded to the message with a time of prayer and rejoicing as a fitting conclusion of their time together.
May the Lord continue to bless Sonshine Conference and Bishop Ray Willis as they continue to move forward in ministry.