In September 2016, Ernestine Hunter joined the Motherhouse staff as the new Executive Assistant to the Council. This past weekend in her church, Ford Memorial Temple, Inc. on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, Ernestine was ordained an elder. She shares some of this sacred journey.
“My church is Ford Memorial Temple and it is a Pentecostal Church. I have been a member for 18 years with the same pastor, The Most Reverend Andrew J. Ford, II. He is a bishop and we are affiliated with the next generation of Fellowship Ministries.
When I first arrived at Ford Memorial, I was at a phase in my life where I was really seeking God, seeking to know him. I was hungry for the Word. My 16-year old son was a member of Ford Memorial. I went to the Church one night to pick him up and when I got there they were still in service, the pastor was speaking, so I went in and sat down. He spoke words that went straight to my heart and I felt that God had brought me there so that I could hear those words. After that, I started to go to the Church regularly and some months later I joined.
I was a happy
pew member for a few years. Eventually, the bishop invited me to study to become a deacon. I was ordained a deacon in 2004 and served in that position for several years.
Over the years, I grew in my understanding of God and in prayer. I went to Ford Memorial seeking Him. I found Him in a way that I had never known and then I fell in love with Him. I wanted God to be pleased with my life and I wanted to be obedient to his Word.”
As a child, Ernestine remembers saying to her mother, ‘I would never want to be a preacher or a preacher’s wife,’ but God had a plan. Ernestine believed God was calling her to
even more — to
feed my sheep. After prayer and consultation with the bishop, Ernestine began studying to become an elder.
After several years of preparation, on Sunday, February 26, 2017, Ernestine was ordained as a presbyter, or ordained elder in Ford Memorial Temple. In subsequent times they are generally known as priests.Together with the bishops, they take part in the governance of the church, in the carrying out of its missionary and pastoral work, and in the preaching of the Word of God and administering His Holy Sacraments.
Ernestine shares, “It is awesome; it is still almost unbelievable. My strength comes from knowing that I love God, I want Him to be pleased and I know He has called me to serve in this way. Whenever I have any doubt or feel as if I can’t do it, I remember that God is with me — he has never left me — God has never failed me.”
Sisters Regina Bell SSJ,
Nancy Kramer SSJ,
Teresa Shaw SSJ and
Margaret Mary Smith
SSJ were in attendance. Sister Regina commented, "Ernestine's ordination was a joy-filled opportunity for all present to experience her public commitment to Jesus. I felt privileged to be there with members of her family, friends and congregation to witness this milestone in her faith journey. The music, dancing and anointing ritual were spirited and inspiring." Sister Margaret Mary was grateful to be part of this significant moment for Ernestine. "It was a privilege to be there. In the prayerfulness of the people around me, I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Elder Hunter was truly called to this step in her ministry for which she prepared with much prayer, study and generosity."
We congratulate Ernestine on this blessed and important occasion and pray that God will continue to walk with her. We are so happy to have her serene and powerful presence with us at the Motherhouse.