“I'm here because of God, you, and the church,” said Takuma Shinasue. “I stand here as I’ve been honored to be called by God and affirmed as such by you.”
Last fall, Shinasue, who serves as associate pastor of Southern California Conference’s (SCC) three Japanese- American congregations in Pasadena, Gardena, and West Los Angeles, was ordained to the gospel ministry. The ordination service, held at Central Japanese-American Community church, concluded a full day of celebration, with the congregation’s 75th anniversary commemorated earlier that Sabbath.
The service included personal touches from family, friends, and colleagues. Shinasue’s maternal grandfather, who was not present, virtually read the key Scripture declaring God as the Good Shepherd. His childhood friend Justin Nishino played “More Love to Thee” on the guitar. Church members gave him lei garlands. Vinh Nguyen, SCC Asian-Pacific region director, presented Shinasue with a shepherd’s rod and offered the ordination prayer.
Shinasue translated his own message in both English and Japanese. He thanked his parents, family, friends, SCC officers, and church members for their support. He expressed that this list may be excessive for an ordination response, “but this thanksgiving to the people cannot be severed from my response to the call from God for ordination.”
He described his path to pastoral ministry as a step-by-step journey, “not knowing where I’m being led to, but believing that I’m being led by the One I trust.” He has recognized this as God’s call because the congregation has affirmed it through their faith in God.
“I want to be a seal upon God’s heart,” Shinasue concluded. “I believe that only by God keeping me tied to Him by His love, I may truly be able to be your pastor. I pray that through me being tied to this Good Shepherd, God may, by His grace, make me a good, small shepherd of His for you.”
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