The Rev. Ross Pryor was installed as superintendent of the Washington District during a service on October, 9, 2022 at Jefferson Ave. United Methodist Church.
Rev. Pryor preached on Joshua 1:1-9 with a particular emphasis on the verse that reads, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
In his spirited and passionate message, Rev. Pryor recognized the need for courage and strong leadership during this time of deep division. “Let’s be leaders and require leaders of all those in our presence,” he urged. “We are called upon in spite of the mess that we’re going through, to stand tall. To be strong. To be courageous.”
Rev. Pryor continuously reminded those gathered that this strength and courage comes to us through the power of Jesus Christ, referencing John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
“The peace of Jesus, even in the midst of it all, the peace that Christ Jesus leaves is the peace that allows you to stand tall,” Rev. Pryor reminded the congregation.
His parting message (and the title of his sermon) focused on the initialism “L-I-G”, a concept he shared as a lesson learned from his late sister. “Let go of the fear. Let go of the reluctance. L-I-G. Let it go.”
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi praised Rev. Pryor’s leadership, sharing that multiple Cabinet colleagues put forth his name during the discernment process for the new district superintendent. She celebrated the unique gifts he brings to the table and rejoiced in the diverse nature of the leadership with which she surrounds herself.
A number of people participated in the service. Lyzona Marshall performed a moving rendition of the song “Say the Name”, and Diana Barnes and Rev. Debra Mason read scripture. Members of the Washington District presented Rev. Pryor with signs of his superintendency; the Bible, water, bread and cup, a hymnal and Book of Worship, a towel and basin, a stole, the Book of Discipline, and a globe. Each sign signifies a responsibility he will undertake as District Superintendent.
Those who participated in this presentation included Chase Maceiko, Rev. Jacob Judy, Rev. David Lake, Lee Sorrow, Rev. Monica Calvert, Paul Huey, Rick Bryant and Judy Humphreys. The Washington District lay leader Bob Stark affirmed Rev. Pryor’s commitment to the ministries in our midst.
An offering was collected to benefit the Washington Christian Outreach and the LeMoyne Community Center and the prayer of dedication was led by Rev. Steve Morse.