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  • Writer's pictureHaskell Williams

With the Love of God for Your Children: The Commissioning of Kathy Russell

A highlight of Carolina Campmeeting was the Commissioning Service of Kathy Russell to Gospel Ministry on Sabbath afternoon, June 1.

Kathy’s road to ministry was rather unusual. Even before starting school, she had ministered to her home church by singing. In college, Kathy studied music education and, in the subsequent decades, served the Lord in His church in a wide variety of responsibilities—as a music teacher, as an elementary education teacher, and in numerous offices for her church.

Even when Kathy was asked by Elder Jim Davidson to serve the Carolina Conference as Children’s Ministries Director, she would not have ascribed to herself the title ‘minister’ or ‘pastor.’ Though she could not see it, others observed her spirit and special calling as the pastor of the children of Carolina. Not only did she plan and direct all of the children’s activities at Campmeeting (while directing the Campmeeting Choir), but throughout the year and in churches across the conference, Kathy discipled Sabbath School teachers and leaders through area workshops, trained members on how to organize successful Vacation Bible Schools, and shared sermons on how to conduct engaging family worship.

If that were not enough, to reach children at their interest level, Kathy began a global ministry through the world-wide web, reading character-building books to children everywhere on Kathy’s Kids StoryTime ( Even then, she was surprised when Haskell Williams (Ministerial Director) asked her to prayerfully consider the Personnel Committee’s recommendation that she be Commissioned to Gospel Ministry. To that committee, her Gospel calling was abundantly evident. After prayerful wrestling with God, Kathy submitted to His call.

On the first Sabbath of June, the last day of Campmeeting, children’s ministry leaders from across the Carolinas and beyond joined Kathy in Stuart Auditorium, with conference ministers and officers, along with leaders from the Southern Union, to lay the hands of commissioning on her. She was introduced as a candidate by Jim Davidson (now Executive Secretary, Southern Union) and recommended to ministry by Sonja Eberhart Puterbaugh (recently retired elementary teacher), Greg & Kim Taylor (Youth Ministries Directors, Southern Union), and Leslie & Carole Louis (President, Carolina Conference).

Kathy was joined by her daughter, Grace, to sing “My Heart is in Your Keeping” on the same platform where Grace had sung the same song for her father, Rick Russell (Treasurer, Carolina Conference).

After the Commissioning Prayer, the Ministerial Charge was read to her by Gary Moyer (Executive Secretary) and Ricardo Palacios (Director, Hispanic Ministries). Kathy responded to the charge—“It is my desire, my resolve, my pledge that I want to spend my life giving to our children, letting them know Jesus.” She concluded with this prayer for God’s help—“And, Lord, I ask You to help me do that.”

Leslie Louis welcomed Kathy to Gospel Ministry. On the same date on which Kathy’s husband had been ordained 11 years earlier, the mantle of pastoral responsibility was placed on her shoulders and she was warmly welcomed by her ministerial colleagues.

—Haskell Williams, Ministerial Director

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