He grew up in the U.P. and now the Rev. Scott Harmon returns as Superintendent of The Marquette District.
Michigan Area Communications
A large congregation of Marquette District clergy, their spouses, and laity from United Methodist churches across the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula came together on September 16, 2017 for the installation service celebrating and welcoming the appointment of the Reverend Scott A. Harmon as their District Superintendent. The celebration was held at Wesley United Methodist Church in Ishpeming.
Rev. Harmon was most recently the pastor of Frankenmuth UMC, but has also served United Methodist congregations in Iron Mountain, Quinnesec, Negaunee, and Escanaba, all in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Bishop Bard officially presented and introduced Harmon, admitting that he had never been a part of an installation of a D.S., before. In his presentation the Bishop described qualifications that he felt were important for conference leadership: “Someone who knows Jesus, seeks to grow in that love, has heard God call his or her name in Jesus Christ, knows that God is with them in fire and flood, lives and breathes God and knows Jesus, loves the Church, and works and plays well with others. The person who would be Superintendent of the Marquette District would have to be someone who loved this district with all its variety, spender, and distances. And as we begin to think about those qualities,” the bishop concluded, “I think Scott Harmon is the right person for this district and for this conference.”
The new District Superintendent began the day’s sermon, entitled “Who Knew,” by recalling his roots in the area. Pointing to the polished dolomite Lord’s Table in the chancel, he said, “I knew the man who was a part of the making of this altar… I’ve known those who were the descendants of the Cornish miners, many of whom sang in the Negaunee Male Chorus … It’s humbling and a great blessing to be asked to serve the people of this place.” He also added, “Bron (Mrs. Scott Harmon) and I are thrilled to death to be back on the Marquette District!”
Harmon also recalled how the United Methodist Church helped him grow in the faith, saying, “Years ago a congregation put up with a little boy who struggled to sit still in events like this, a boy who ran in the halls where I’m sure people thought he should be walking, teaching him a love for God’s house and the people within it. Along the way he would learn to clean up the paper airplanes he threw from the balcony after the worship services and to let the younger children go ahead of him in the potluck lines, that the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing, and that there’s always a cost to being a disciple of Jesus Christ.” The new D.S. asserted, “God’s not finished with you and me … and God is not finished with The UMC!”
In addition to the joy and honor of being appointed as a District Superintendent, there indeed appears to be a cost to such discipleship. For the coming months Rev. Harmon’s two children will be finishing their senior year at Frankenmuth High School, living there with their mother until they can all make their home in Marquette.
Later, when asked what he thought were some challenges being faced by churches in Michigan, Harmon said, “We need to learn how to connect and to be in relation with our neighbors, especially in today’s political climate. Churches are really being challenged and should not give up.” He also strongly suggested that churches need to develop the ability to accept changes. “We shouldn’t be asking ‘Can we?’ No! Rather, we need to be looking for how we can do it.” Harmon also remembered some of the superintendents who had been helpful during his career and said he would certainly want to follow their examples as he serves the clergy and laity of the Marquette District.
The hour long service included words of welcome by the Rev. Jeramiah J. Mannschreck, pastor of Ishpeming: Wesley UMC. The Rev. Kristi Hintz of Marquette: Hope UMC led in prayer. Scriptures were read by the Revs Tim Bashore of Pickford UMC, Ted Trudgeon of Bergland, Ewen, Wakefield UMC’s, and Ryan Low Edwardson of Escanaba: First and Menominee: First UMC’s. The Covenant Service was conducted by the Rev. Dave Wallis of Mackinaw City: Church of the Straits.
The Other Side of Grace praise team, the Central Singers of Escanaba: Central UMC, and organist Sandy Balmer of Marquette: Hope UMC provided the music for the afternoon.
Among those present were Bishop David Bard of the Michigan Area and Clergy Assistant to the Bishop, the Rev. John Boley. District Superintendents in attendance were: the Revs William Haggard (Grand Rapids), Elizabeth Hill (Blue Water), John Hice (Crossroads), and Dwayne Bagley (Kalamazoo). Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette, John Francis Doerfler, was also present.
Following the service, a meal was offered in Wesley UMC’s fellowship hall, organized by Marquette District Lay Leader, Vicki Prewitt, and the Marquette District Superintendency Committee.