Congratulations, Rev. Dr. Brad Bradford

On behalf of our congregation, I would like to congratulate our very own Rev. Dr. Brad Bradford. As of July 1st, Brad became a United Methodist Church Clergy Person in Full Connection, Order of Deacon. Deacon Brad’s almost eight-year journey has now been recognized by the Annual Conference and his formal service of ordination is to be scheduled sometime later this year.
As many of many of you know, in 2012, Brad had just completed 19 years of minis
try at the Calvary Baptist Church in Dothan, Alabama. While awaiting his next role, Dr. Larry Bryars, then Lead Pastor of Shalimar UMC, asked him to be the interim Minister of Music, from August to November. The interim went well (Brad says it was the longest interview ever - 2 1/2 months!), and he was offered a permanent position as Worship Pastor on November 19, 2012 by the Staff Parish Relations Committee.

While serving at Shalimar, he pursued the full clergy credentials in the United Methodist Church and began the initial steps of his journey with the District Committee on Ministry. He became a certified candidate in November of 2013. Brad had also always wanted to earn his doctorate and, simultaneously, began studies in January of 2013 at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies in Jacksonville, Florida. After three years of fruitful academic work, he was awarded his degree (Doctor of Worship Studies) and became Dr. Brad Bradford in 2016.

Brad transitioned to United Methodist from Southern Baptist, and the ordination process was long with many twists and turns. He was commissioned in 2017 by the Alabama West Florida Conference Board of Ministry as a Provisional Deacon. Brad participated in a RIOM (Residency in Ordained Ministry) group for two years and after a three-year journey with the Conference Board of Ministry, he was approved by the board. In February of this year, he became a Deacon in Full Connection in the United Methodist Church.

In any other prior year, Brad would have been ordained in June as a part of the Annual Conference proceedings. This year, however, due to Covid-19 restrictions, Annual Conference was postponed and as a result, Bishop Graves and others from the Conference are planning a future visit to Shalimar to formally ordain Brad. As this plan moves forward, we will keep the congregation updated on when to come out and support Brad for this high and holy moment. The service of ordination is both inspiring and educational for the congregation and is one of the greatest services in the United Methodist Church. I am excited we will get a first-hand opportunity to witness this great moment in Brad’s life.

Congratulations, Deacon Brad! We are proud of you and admire your perseverance and diligence to become fully credentialed as a Deacon in Full Connection on July 1st.
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Philip McVay

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