At 6:30 p.m. on July 2, Michelle Hill, pastor of the Pembroke church, became the first Seventh-day Adventist woman in the history of the Bermuda Conference to receive a commissioned ministerial credential. Kenneth Manders, Bermuda Conference president, officiated at the commissioning service, and W. DeJaun Tull, executive secretary, presented Hill as a candidate.
Hill received many video expressions of greetings and affirmations from supporters, including her mentor, Brenda Billingy, retired North American Division (NAD) Ministerial Association associate director; Heather Crews, NAD Ministerial Association associate director; Elizabeth Talbot, director of Jesus 101 Biblical Institute; Jeffrey Brown, General Conference Ministerial Association associate secretary and Ministry magazine associate editor; G. Alexander Bryant, NAD president, and Desiree, his wife, NAD Ministerial Association associate director – ministerial spouses; Kirk Simmons, a Pembroke church elder; and Lola Moore Johnston, senior pastor of the Restoration Praise Center in Bowie, Maryland.
James Yansen, Jr., pastor of the Hyde Park church in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, delivered the sermon using Colossians 4:17 (NIV) as his theme text: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.” He urged Hill to guard her ministry, which is service, and to remember that her commission and ordination come from God and God alone. “When you understand that this mighty God who called you also equips you, lean on His everlasting arms. . . . You are called to win souls for the Lord Jesus Christ; give yourself to the anointing of God.”
He encouraged the church to “serve as spiritual cheerleaders, and as witnesses to what God is doing in an age where ministry is debated rather than prayerfully executed.”
Yansen ended with a quote from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1088, “Paul did not depend upon man for his ordination. He had received from the Lord his commission and ordination. He regarded his ministerial labor as a privilege. To him it was not a duty performed in return for money. He labored for the souls of men. ‘For though I preach the gospel,’ he said ‘I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me: yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!’ He studied constantly how to make his testimony of the greatest effect. He sought the approval of God.”
Hill said she was overwhelmed by what the Lord had done in her life. “He called me to this journey (ministry), and when I heard the voice of God . . . I said, ‘God, what you are asking of me; how will these things happen?’ And God said, ‘Put your hand in my hand, and I will lead you through the water. I will take you through the fire, and I will cover you in the valley.’ . . . I bless God today.”
Hill also expressed gratitude to the Bermuda Conference, the administration, and Jeffrey Brown, former Bermuda Conference president, who assigned her to the Pembroke church, her church family, colleagues, and husband, Dwayne, whom she described as a man of God.
As Manders read the Ministerial Oath to Hill in the form of nine questions, she responded in the affirmative that she would follow with all of her heart the mandates God has placed within His Word.
As ordained pastors surrounded Hill and laid hands on her, Debleaire Snell, Breath of Life speaker/director and pastor of the Oakwood University church in Huntsville, Alabama, offered a prayer of commission that God would place a Pentecostal anointing on her, give her great success, and do a special work in, through, and for her.
Tull led the Commissioning Charge using Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-5 followed by various charges from Bermuda Conference leaders and pastors. Cyril Millett charged Hill to minister as a servant; Carlyle C. Simmons as a shepherd; Ulric Hetsberger as a teacher; Richard Martin as a pastor; and Kenneth Manders as a soul-winner.
Manders welcomed Hill into the ministry, and Tull presented the Certificate of Commissioning and gifts from the Bermuda Conference, the NAD, the Pembroke church, and the women of WCIP (Women Connecting in Prayer), a ministry Hill founded.