By Rose Anne C. Velasco
“A deaconess by heart is always a deaconess.” Thus declares this deaconess who is now a clergy – Rev. Cerna Castro-Rand. Pastor Cerna graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education from Harris Memorial College in 1989. According to her she is a product of her mentors who inspired and encouraged her.
Pastor Cerna was an active member of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship of San Carlos United Methodist Church in Pangasinan when she felt God’s call to her in the deaconess ministry. She was moved and inspired by the leadership and skill in playing the piano of their Deaconess Margie Rosales and so she decided to come to Harris to study and become a deaconess. Pastor Cerna was commissioned as a deaconess of the United Methodist Church here in the Philippines and worked as a deaconess in the area of Christian Education.
In 1993, Pastor Cerna went to the United States to study at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. While in the U.S., she didn’t dream that one day she would find a husband who is so loving, caring, and thoughtful. He is Mark Rand, a Physicist. Pastor Cerna praises Mark for being so supportive to her in her mission and ministry.
I am blessed to have met Pastor Cerna even in the short time of her visit. I have been challenged and inspired by her testimonies in serving the poor and the depressed. A church worker like her really contributes to making the hopeless see the future with hope.
Reverend Cerna Castro Rand, is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and since July 2011 has been appointed at Prince of Peace. She served as an associate pastor of the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, in Chicago, IL for seven years; and as an Associate Pastor and Minister of Christian Education/ Family Matters at Grace United Methodist Church in Lake Bluff, IL.