ST. PAUL, MN (June 28, 2010) – When hands were laid on Roy White and he was prayed over Sunday morning, Roy White – at age 77 – may have become the oldest minister ever to receive his ordination in the 125 years of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). No one knows for sure due to the lack of older records.
White is pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Gary, Indiana. He chuckled when someone mentioned the possible distinction. “You know, I really hadn’t thought about it.”
The church was birthed in 1980 out of a prayer meeting that was held in White’s basement. He was working in the steel mills at the time and another person served as pastor, although White contributed greatly to the ministry. White became pastor of the church in 1998.
Pastor Jerome Nelson moved to Gary and served as associate pastor in the church for several years. He served in that capacity when the church joined the denomination in 1988 – Nelson now serves as superintendent of the Central Conference of the ECC.
Unlike most ordinands, White did not attend seminary, but the Covenant is making an exception due to his age and length of experience. He did receive training through Moody Bible Institute and continued his education while maintaining the license he has held through the denomination.
Ordination can be granted through a special exemptions clause in the rules of Ordered Ministry. “If anyone deserves the exemption, it’s him,” said Nelson, noting the faithfulness with which White has served.