New Presbyterian minister told: Don’t use pulpit for personal agendas

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Presbyterian Moderator Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan and other ministers lay hands on Rev Robert Dinnoo after taking his vows at the ordination ceremony on Sunday at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church, San Fernando. – Yvonne Webb

A newly-ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church has been warned against using the pulpit for personal agendas.

The advice to Rev Robert Dinnoo at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church, San Fernando, on Sunday, was given by Terrence Warde, general secretary of the church’s synod.

In congratulating Dinnoo on his call to be a servant leader, Warde told him to respect the pulpit.

“It is a sacred space to proclaim the word of God and not for personal agendas.”

Warde also warned, “Be careful how you use social media. It can be an effective tool but, if used carelessly, it can be to your ruin. Remember that things you post, messages and pictures, on some platforms can become a permanent online footprint of who you are.”

He called on Dinnoo to add value to his region so he can leave it a better place than he met it, spiritually, socially and financially.

Dinnoo was also reminded that the church’s constitution does not provide for junior or senior ministers, as all are equal, and of the importance of letting his voice be heard.

“As you grow in ministry, you will see your value to society. The PCTT (Presbyterian Church of TT) has produced two ministers who have served as independent senators in the Parliament of this country – (Moderator) Joy Abdul-Mohan and Rev Daniel Teelucksingh.

“Others have served on state boards and other public-service entities. Your role in the society is one that is cherished, respected and needed. A perspective of clergy on a secular organisation brings balance to that organisation and legitimises and lends creditability to its work.”

Warde explained Dinnoo’s ordination was somewhat historic, in that it was the first ordination of someone who completed the licentiate as a private candidate and was then accepted by the PCTT as a student and intern minister.

Abdul-Mohan, as she administered the vows to Dinnoo, said being a minister of the church does not give one a position of power or authority.

She said it is about service to humanity.

“Ordination is not about access to position, influence or power in the church. Ordination is a gift, not a right.”

Dinnoo’s ordination brings to 30, the number of ministers in the local church. He is the fifth from the Oropouche pastoral region.

In her sermon, former moderator Rev Dr Annabell Lalla-Ramkalewan told Dinnoo not to make a big deal of the ordination service, as where he goes from here, and the difference he would make, would be what matters most.

She challenged him to do as the apostle Paul did and to find out and live out God’s whole purpose for his life.

“Do not shrink from your purpose in life and in the lives of those entrusted to your care.”

She also challenged him to be transparent, so whoever looks at him would not see the face he was born with, but the face of Jesus Christ.

She said his mantra must now be, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

After his vows, Dinnoo expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve the church and people who accepted him to be of service.

“It gives me pleasure to greet you as Rev Robert Dinnoo. I thank God for allowing me to answer His call to serve people. What a journey it has been from humble beginnings at the Morning Star Presbyterian Church in the Oropouche pastoral region, where my foundation began.

“I am elated that my parents afforded me the opportunity to grow up in church and follow the teachings of God.”