By Jon Roberts – Alamosa, Colorado … Friends, family, and colleagues of Robert McAlpine gathered on April 10 for the ordination of Robert Alpine to the gospel ministry.
McAlpine’s mother, MaryLou, always knew her son would be a minister. “When I became an Adventist, Bob was going into second grade and he would take his Bible to school until he was asked not to bring it. I was still [practicing] Catholicism at the time. One day he purposely didn’t get on the bus to go home because he didn’t want to go to catechism [class]. When Bob got home, I made him get in the car and I took him to catechism [class]. That night he said to me, ‘Mom you know where the truth is. Why do we keep going back to the Catholic church?’”
McAlpine’s father, Duff, agreed it was natural for his son to be ordained. “It seems so natural, it really does. I’ve seen this for a long time. I’m not at all surprised.”
Members reflected on McAlpine’s approach to ministry which includes recognizing everyone as equal in God’s eye’s, regardless of gender.
“Pastor Bob has been instrumental in my spiritual journey. He has encouraged me a lot in ministry. I was ordained as an elder because of him. He saw God’s call on my life and made it happen. He has been a good ministry partner for many years,” said Winema Van Iwaarden, Alamosa elder.
Monte Vista church attendee, Sean Eubanks, commented on what McAlpine’s ministry means to him, saying, “He makes me think and challenges me to go deeper in Scripture.”
Being ordained brings mixed emotions for McAlpine. “I really appreciate the recognition of the church that God has called and I wish that the church recognized all callings equally.”
For the ministry charge presentation, Mic Thurber, ministry director for Mid-America Union Conference, recognized the mixed emotions McAlpine was experiencing as he quoted the apostle Paul, “Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.”
Former Alamosa district pastor, Jim Moon, also addressed equality during the ordination message, touching on the idea that “ordination is affirming God’s call to the ministry.”
“We are just affirming what God has chosen and so it seems like a simple thing, but to those who feel like that, we are not affirming that can seem like a weird thing and to those who are being affirmed, like you and me. Wow, we are being affirmed but what about them.”
A neighboring Christian church, which shares a parking lot with the Alamosa church on Sunday, showed their appreciation to McAlpine by thanking him publicly for the friendship and support the two pastors have developed over the years.
During the ordination prayer, RMC president, Ed Barnett, extended a welcome and invitation to the neighboring pastor, Jeron Parkins, of Living Water Bible Fellowship to join other ministers on the platform to lay hands on Robert and his wife Sarah as they ordained the couple and their ministry.
There were frequent smiles of joy on the faces of members of the participating congregation who saw how the McAlpine family was an integral part of the ceremony. All five children were excited to be present, the smallest sitting on Bob’s and Sarah’s laps, enjoying this special day.
At the conclusion of the service, Bob Alpine commented: “I’m very thankful that the Conference supports me, and that the local congregations support me, and most importantly that Jesus has led us here and has blessed our ministry. I would also like to thank Jim Moon who brought me here and made me the unpaid associate. He is a big part of the reason I’m in pastoral ministry today. I especially want to thank my parents, and most of all my wife and my family, Without their support, it wouldn’t be possible for me to be in this position.”
–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski and Jon Roberts