Chapter 9: Installation Ceremonies
A. General Regulations
5900. The installation ceremonies provided herewith shall normally be used as a part of some general service of worship, and in most instances the other parts of the service, such as hymns, scripture readings, and prayers, will need to be supplied, being chosen in such a manner as to give the entire service unity and dignity.
B. Installation of a Pastor
5905. Order of Installation of a Pastor.
(The district superintendent or representative shall preside over the installation of a pastor 1310:26. The presiding minister or other appointed minister shall give the invocation:)
O Lord, You have made known your will to us that we should pray for You to send forth laborers into Your harvest. We earnestly ask you to send forth into the world true teachers and ministers of Your Word, and to enlighten their minds with the knowledge of Your truth, that they may faithfully make known the whole counsel of God unto salvation, to the glory of Your name and the saving of souls; through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
(The presiding minister or other appointed minister may read a scripture lesson such as John 15:1-8 and may deliver an appropriate message. At the proper time, the presiding minister shall address the congregation, saying:)
Dear friends, we are assembled before God to install the Reverend _____________________, who has answered your call to become the pastor of this church, and whose installation has been duly authorized by the _____________________ District of The Wesleyan Church.
(The pastor shall come and stand before the presiding minister, who shall address the pastor, saying:)
Dear fellow minister, the duties of your holy office are clearly set forth in the Word of God. As an ambassador of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are first of all to preach both Law and Gospel, as they are comprehended in the Holy Scriptures and defined in The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church. This you are to do without the addition of private opinion, as the apostle admonishes, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God” (1 Peter 4:11).
Whatever is contrary to sound doctrine shall be refuted with all restraint as the Scripture warns, “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct” (2 Tim. 2:24–25a).
Those who are committed to your pastoral care are to be diligently admonished to walk in the commandments of the Lord blamelessly. The erring are to be warned with the fidelity which the Word of the Lord demands of faithful pastors, as the Prophet Ezekiel was instructed, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel” (Ezek. 3:17).
You are also to be the steward of the holy sacraments which you are to administer to the comfort of troubled souls. In view of the Savior’s gracious words, “Let the little children come to me” (Mark 10:14), the children and youth of the church must in a special sense be the object of your pastoral instruction and care.
The measure of faithfulness with which you are to seek the erring is set forth in the Holy Scriptures in the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31).
The example of holy men and women of God will impel you to pray diligently for your people and to be a pattern unto them in faith and good works.
Do you therefore earnestly purpose to diligently fulfill these duties, and thus be able in this life to answer before The Wesleyan Church and the Church universal, and in the life to come to give an account before the judgment seat of Christ?
Answer: Yes, I do so purpose, by the help of God.
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction . . . keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1–2, 5).
(The congregation shall rise, and the presiding minister shall address them, saying:)
And now, dear friends, I admonish you to receive as your pastor, the Reverend _____________, whom God has given you. Accept the Word of God as preached by His messenger to you, whether it be for your comfort, your admonition or your instruction, even as Christ has said, “Consider carefully how you listen” (Luke 8:18).
Use all diligence that your children receive instruction in the Christian faith and are present with you in the services at God’s house, in accordance with the counsel of the Apostle Paul to Christian parents to bring children “up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
Pray for your pastor that the ministry offered in this place may tend to the salvation of many souls, and that through sacrificial labors, you, together with your pastor, may be saved.
Honor and esteem the one who is to minister to your souls. As the Apostle Paul exhorts, “Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other” (1 Thess. 5:12–13).
Do you now, as becomes a Christian church, accept these obligations?
Answer: Yes, by the help of God.
(Then the presiding minister shall address the pastor, saying:)
Upon these, your solemn mutual promises, I now install you, the Reverend _____________, as pastor of the _____________ Wesleyan Church, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Then the presiding minister shall lead in prayer, concluding by leading the congregation in the Lord’s Prayer. Then the presiding minister shall address the congregation and the pastor, saying:)
The Lord bless you that you may bring forth much fruit and that your fruit may remain.
(Then the congregation shall join in singing a hymn such as, “A Charge to Keep I Have.” Then the congregation may come forward to greet the pastor and family at the altar. The pastor shall pronounce the benediction.)
C. Installation of Local Church Officers
5915. Order of Installation of Local Church Officers.
(This installation may be held during a Sunday morning service or other appropriate service just prior to the time when the newly elected officers shall assume their duties. The congregation may join in singing a hymn, such as: “A Charge to Keep I Have,” or “I’ll Live for Him Who Died for Me.” The pastor may read a scripture lesson such as Acts 2:41–44 and 6:1–8. Depending upon the number of officers involved, the pastor may wish to read something concerning their duties from The Discipline. At the proper time, the pastor shall call the newly elected officers before the congregation, and shall address them, saying:)
Dear friends, it is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles that when the early church was growing and the number of disciples was multiplying, and the duties of the church so increased, and so became diversified, that the church called its members together and chose those of good report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, to assist in administering the affairs of the church; and that the officers thus chosen by the church were set before the apostles, who laid hands on them and prayed, thus setting them apart in the presence of the church to the duties of their honorable office.
In like manner this church, having first sought the guidance of the divine Spirit, has chosen you to similar offices to be associated with those already in office and with the pastor before whom you have now come for public consecration.
Therefore, we, the pastor and the people of this church, call upon you to hear and join in this pledge of trust to Christ and His Church.
The Officers’ Pledge
5920. Trusting in Jesus Christ, the great Head of the church, I humbly promise Him and His church that I will be faithful to the extent of my ability to all known duties and responsibilities assigned to me as an officer of this church. I will endeavor to be regular in my attendance, cheerful in my service, wholehearted in my giving, open-minded in my planning, patient in the face of trials, persistent in the face of difficulty, and Christlike in my faithfulness to His service. I will seek by example and precept the promotion of Christian fellowship among all our members and the spreading of the message of full salvation at home and abroad. Do you cheerfully and yet solemnly accept the obligations of this pledge?
Answer: I do. (Then the pastor shall address the congregation, asking them to stand, and saying:)
We, the pastor and officers of this church, call upon the members and friends of this church to hear and join in this pledge of loyalty to those called of God and elected by the church as its leaders.
The Church’s Pledge
5925. Having chosen these officers to guide us in the administration of the church, we, its members and friends, do now pledge our loyalty to its work and promise our consideration of the plans and our friendly cooperation in the service suggested to us. We acknowledge our duty and declare our determination to pray for all our leaders and to share with them in the glorious responsibility of spreading the good news, thus hastening the coming of Christ. Do you cheerfully and yet solemnly accept the obligations of this pledge?
Answer: We do.
(The officers shall then kneel at the altar while the pastor and people offer prayer in their behalf.)
D. Installation of District Superintendent
5930. Order of Installation of a District Superintendent.
(The General Superintendent or representative shall be in charge of installing the district superintendent before the adjournment of the district conference in which election to the office has occurred (1935:31). The newly elected district superintendent, and such other district officers as are desired, shall be called before the General Superintendent, who shall first address the district superintendent, saying:)
District superintendent __________________, today you stand before us along with the other duly elected officers of the district. You have been prayerfully selected by this district conference to serve as leader of the ______________________ District of The Wesleyan Church. It is in you that the ministers and members of the various churches within the bounds of this district are investing their confidence and trust. Yours is indeed a position of significant honor and responsibility, and it is only as God is with you that you will be enabled to fill it.
In counseling, may He grant needed grace; in decisions, may He impart of His wisdom; in labors, may your secret be His all-sufficient strength; in administration’s numerous phases, may He be your “very present help.” The support and cooperation of this body are assured you in the days that lie ahead. Together may you build a district that knows its best days spiritually, numerically, and materially as well.
And now, that we may hear publicly your intentions to accept this charge with proper regard for all that is therewith involved, we ask you in the presence of God and of these witnesses, do you accept the office of superintendent of the district, and do you hereby solemnly covenant to discharge your duties to God, to The Wesleyan Church, and to all the members of the ____________________ District, according to The Discipline and in the fear of God?
Answer: I do, God being my helper.
(The General Superintendent shall address the other district officers, saying:)
Do you, as officers representing the _______________ District, covenant to support the district superintendent and to discharge your several duties to God, to The Wesleyan Church, and to all the members of this district, according to The Discipline and in the fear of God?
Answer: We do, God being our helper.
(Then the General Superintendent shall address the district superintendent, saying:)
As representative of The Wesleyan Church, I charge you with this responsibility and declare you to be formally installed as superintendent of the _________________ District, entitled to the rights and privileges thereunto pertaining.
(Then the General Superintendent shall lead in prayer.)
E. Installation of General Officials
5935. Order of Installation of General Officials.
(In the parts of the service prior to the actual installation, a scripture lesson such as 1 Corinthians 12:14–28 shall be read. The person appointed to preside over the service shall be responsible for giving the various charges, and shall address the congregation, saying:)
According to Acts, chapter 6, the Holy Spirit led the first-century church to select persons for positions of service according to gifts bestowed upon them. So the Holy Spirit has led The Wesleyan Church to choose persons believed to be blameless in heart as well as in life, possessing in measure the qualifications for the offices to which they are called. These persons we now come to set apart as General Officials.
(Then the chair shall address the elected General Superintendent, saying:)
Will the General Superintendent-elect please stand. __________________, Name of elected, the Church has called you to its most honored and responsible place of leadership, to the office of General Superintendent. This high office is one of great importance and dignity, imposing weighty responsibilities and demanding earnest, arduous, and self-sacrificing labor. In assuming your duties, you become stewards over the spiritual and temporal affairs of the Church worldwide.
You have been chosen for the office of General Superintendent because the Church recognizes in you the leadership abilities to carry spiritual and administrative authority in humility that is born of love. Further, you exemplify the high standard for Christian leadership set forth in the Word of God by Paul in the first chapter of his epistle to Titus, when he said, “Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:7–9).
Do you accept the office of General Superintendent, and promise that you will faithfully endeavor to discharge your duties as set forth in The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church?
Answer: I do.
Inasmuch as the Church has elected you to this high office, and you have declared your willingness to accept it and your sincere purpose to discharge faithfully your duties as a General Superintendent, you are hereby set apart to this service in the Church.
May faith, courage, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity be in you and abound, so that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in your leadership of the Church. Amen.
(Then the General Superintendent shall be seated, and the chair shall address those others elected as General Officials, saying:)
The Church is served by General Officials, some elected by this General Conference, and some elected by the General Board.
Will _______________, elected as Executive Director of the Communication and Administration Division; _______________, elected as Executive Director of the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division; ____________________, elected as Executive Director of the Education and Clergy Development Division; ____________________, elected as Executive Director of the Global Partners Division; and _________________________, elected as General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer please stand.
The Wesleyan Church has honored you by electing you to stand with the General Superintendent as the general officials of the Church. These are highly esteemed places of leadership. In assuming these offices, you become the recipients of respect and deference from faithful Wesleyans around the world.
In connection with your respective offices, The Discipline charges you under the direction of the General Board with the responsibility of the secretarial and corporate affairs of the Church, the development and promotion of the work of spiritual formation, the promotion and administration of the outreach of the Church into new areas of the homeland, the promotion and correlation of the Church’s educational institutions, the administration of a program of worldwide missions, the editorship of the official Church publication, the administration of the financial affairs of the Church, the publication and distribution of materials as resources for the growth of the Church, the communication of the gospel through the written and spoken word, and the promotion of the current and ongoing stewardship of those who make up our fellowship. Your service in these offices will impose duties which cannot be faithfully performed without self-denial and self-sacrifice. You must spend and be spent for the Church in the spirit of joyful service. Your election to these offices is evidence of the confidence the Church has in you as Christian leaders. May your leadership always inspire such confidence, to the glory of God.
Do you accept the office to which the Church has elected you, and do you promise to discharge your duties as God may help you?
Answer: I do.
Inasmuch as the Church has elected you to these high offices, and you have declared your willingness to accept them and your sincere purpose to discharge faithfully your several duties, you are now set apart to this service in the Church.
May you be strong to do God’s will and have great joy in your labors. Amen.
(Then the other general officials shall be seated, and the chair shall address the area representatives of the General Board, saying:)
Will the area representatives of the General Board please stand.
Having carefully considered the responsibilities and obligations of service as members of the General Board as set forth in The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church, will you, with just appreciation of these responsibilities and obligations, accept this service to which you are called?
Answer: I will.
Will you promise that, always seeking divine help, you will faithfully serve as a member of the General Board of The Wesleyan Church, assisting to govern and direct its affairs in a manner which will make for peace, purity, and spiritual growth throughout the denomination?
Answer: I will.
(The General Superintendent and other general officials shall stand once again, and the chair shall address them and the area representatives of the General Board collectively, saying:)
Forasmuch as you have been chosen and have declared your willingness to accept the service to which you have been elected, you are hereby formally recognized as the general officials and General Board of The Wesleyan Church. May you always be worthy of the honor conferred upon you and the trust reposed in you by the Church. And may God, by whose providence you have been set apart to this service, grant that “the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Amen.
(Then the chair shall address the congregation, saying:)
Have you, members and representatives of The Wesleyan Church, worldwide, seeking the guidance of divine wisdom, chosen the persons who now stand before you to take charge of your denominational activities and interests as general officials and members of the General Board?
Answer: We have.
Will you pledge to honor, encourage, and cooperate with them in all things consistent with the will of God, and will you zealously aid them in the discharge of their official duties?
Answer: We will.
(Then the chair shall address the General Superintendent, other general officials and area representatives of the General Board, saying:)
Take to yourselves the office to which you have been called, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Then the chair shall pray:)
O Lord, we ask that you set apart these Your servants unto the work to which You have called them by the voice of the Church. Endue them with heavenly vision. Grant to them Your grace that they may serve You well, being full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, administering the work of their office in the fear of the Lord. Give these Your servants favor and influence throughout Your Church. May Your work increase and advance because of Your blessings and their diligence. Equip these officers for their respective duties and enable them to be faithful in all things, so that when the Great Shepherd shall appear, each may receive a crown of glory that does not fade away. Through Christ we bring this petition. Amen.
F. Installation of a College or University President
5945. Order of Installation of a College or University President.
(The General Superintendent, chair of the board of trustees or other appointed official shall formally and officially install a college/university president at the proper time during the convocation of inauguration. The chair shall address the president, saying:)
President ____________, you have been chosen as the leader of ____________ College/University. The Wesleyan Church is placing under your guidance and leadership not only the physical plant which is about us, the loyal faculty which serves here, but also the sons and daughters from our homes who are to be nurtured in the Christian tradition. They are the foundation both for tomorrow’s Church and for your future constituency.
As president of ____________ College/University, yours is both a priceless heritage and a grave responsibility. You are to be the one to whom all institutional personnel are responsible. It will be your task to interpret the college/university program to the faculty, the student body, the board of trustees, the constituency, and the general public. Yours is one of many educational institutions which through an unending stream of trained youth constantly condition the thought life of our age. The heritage, the doctrines, and the ideals of The Wesleyan Church will be projected to succeeding generations only as you dedicate yourself to their preservation in the present. And if free institutions are to endure in the society of which we are a part, you must carry a flaming torch of democratic idealism.
You have been called to this important task because we have confidence in your leadership, in your ability, in your Christian integrity, and in your consecration to the sacred task before you. We pledge to you our cooperation, our financial support, and our prayers for the days which are ahead.
By the authority vested in me as chair of the board of trustees of ____________ College/University, I hereby place in your hands the official seal of the institution as the insignia of your authority and declare you formally installed as president of ____________ College/University.