It’s time for the September Ordiversary Party! If you were (or are being) ordained in September, we celebrate you and your ministry! Keep up the good work, friends. This is the chance to share your stories, and your advice for new ordinands, and for us to give thanks for all that God has done through you!
This month the party is being kicked off by The Rev. Katie Mulligan, who is an ordained PC (USA) pastor and completed her M.Div at Princeton Theological Seminary. She currently serves as Director of Children’s Ministry at the Taiwanese American Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Hillsborough and assorted other odd jobs. In her spare time she does some community organizing and makes her way through the endless of stack of books she hasn’t read.
1. Tell us about your journey into ministry.
I didn’t grow up in a church, but when I was in high school a scout friend invited me to a Prebsyterian youth group. The pastor there stood by me in some hard times, and I’ve been around ever since. Eventually I joined that church and became an elder. Some years after that I served as director of youth ministry in the same programs I’d come up through. After a few years of serving with youth in my home church, I longed for the opportunity to study the work I was doing and went to seminary. Basically I’m a walking talking testimony to the power of youth ministry…even as many of us debate the merits of having a separate youth ministry.
2. What do you remember from your ordination?
September 12, 2009…And i am writing this on September 12, 2018. Can’t believe it’s only been 9 years, can’t believe it’s already been 9 years. I remember that a lot of people who have supported me over the years showed up for my ordination. And I remember that I held my breath until the next day, half certain that someone would out me as queer and prevent my ordination from going through.
3. Talk for a bit about how your sense of what is important/urgent/etc in ministry has evolved over the course of your ministry?
Over the last decade my focus has shifted to racial justice and working to undermine and dismantle white supremacy. I see nothing else more urgent to discuss among white folks than dismantling white supremacy. It’s not a popular conversation in most of white mainline church ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
4. In recent years your ministry has not included some of the perks that those in full-time installed positions might take for granted…are there positives in the form of ministry you’ve been called to? What has been good about that path?
Ah…perks. Yeah. I haven’t seen a full-time gig since before seminary. The positives is a lot of flexibility in how I schedule my time. If you only pay me for 12 hours per week including preaching, then the rest of my time is available to the community, my family, and my self-education (reading, writing, musing). Never getting too used to a paycheck and benefits allows me to speak on touchy subjects in the church. I still get fired like the rest of everybody, but losing a part-time gig doesn’t have the same blow when I have other income streams and am used to making do. I’m also able to serve churches that are struggling themselves and have few other options than to try creative things. I don’t want to talk up the gig economy and struggling to exist. There are days when it just sucks. But it does make for flexibility, resiliency, and healthy boundaries.
5. What advice would you give to those being ordained this month?
Always have a side job, even if it’s just a few hours a week. Learn new skills that could be marketed. Take advantage of the benefits when you have them. Never forget what it’s like to not have health insurance. Read. Read. Read. Seek out difference. Make heavy contributions of your time and resources to marginalized people within your community. Maintain a private prayer/meditation practice. Your faith will be stretched, twisted, altered, limited, perhaps even broken. And none of that has anything to do with your deepest connection to the one who created you. Guard that against all intruders, friend and enemy alike.
Thanks Katie! Happy Ordiversary!
Now over to you, friends: what do you remember about your ordination? What advice would you give people being ordained this month? What has shifted for you in the time you’ve been in ministry? Let’s share the wisdom and celebration together!
Teri Peterson is a minister in the Church of Scotland, member of the board of RevGalBlogPals, and co-author of the book Who’s Got Time: Spirituality for a Busy Generation. She currently spends her days snuggling a cat and pondering whether she needs yet another raincoat, and (very) occasionally blogs at clevertitlehere.
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com