(This is a revised version of the charge Rev. Dr. Randall Bailey presented at my Ordination and Installation service this past Sunday. I hope it inspires someone who reads it. Critically and compassionately yours, Billy Michael Honor)
I charge you to be faithful to the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ and to help others to be nourished in this understanding through the best of the Black religious traditions.
I charge you to take seriously the ravages of the corporate sins of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, ethnocentrism, and all other forms of oppression and internalized oppression, helping the congregation to become aware of these and to develop skills of resistance to the oppressive forms.
I charge you to be active in community struggles, bearing witness to God's love for the world and thereby being a sign and symbol of Emmanuel, God with us in times of trouble, standing with the least of these.
I charge you to take seriously the ministry of presence as expressed in visits to congregants in times of joy and in times of sorrow. Continue to develop a listening ear so you can be an effective pastoral counselor to those going through shadowy valleys and climbing mounts of transfiguration.
I further charge you to continue your education, reading materials which will sharpen your analyses of the world around us and the spirit within us. As you do so, share with others through formal Christian Education venues, blogs, and other forms of social media, being mindful that pictures of yourself are not necessary to get the messages across.
I charge you to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally, and to keep close those who love, nurture and support you in your career & personal development. Also, always find the time to nurture and support others with whom you share your life, whether they be family, friends, spouse and/or children.
I also charge you to keep a healthy sense of humor.
I also charge you to preach in powerful and liberating ways, bringing to the pulpit strong spiritual power, immersed in social justice, contoured by sharp intellectual and hermeneutical insights, engaging cultural criticism, pointing always to Jesus, who wants us to be responsible agents of his love and promise to always keep our back.
Randall Bailey, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Interdenominational Theological Center