It might seem like an unusual time of year for ordinations, since at least in the USA April is before the end of the school year, and so is tricky for getting all the requirements done. But you’d be surprised at how many RevGals have an April ordiversary! This should be a hopping party, if my question last week in the facebook group is any indication.
This month our party is being kicked off by RevGal Kristina Hine, who is currently serving a congregation in Galston, East Ayrshire in the Church of Scotland.
My journey to ministry began truly and in earnest while I was serving as a Young Adult Volunteer with the PCUSA in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1999-2000. It was while I was sitting in an Orange Lodge (a fraternal organization with sectarian roots) with a mixed group of Catholics and Protestants hearing the calm and reassuring Catholic Priest speaking words of peace. I thought, if this is ministry, then I want to be a part of it. Upon returning home to Southern California, I began looking for a Seminary to attend.
My Ordination day was the 16th of April, 2011 at the First Presbyterian Church in Redlands, California. It was the day before Palm Sunday and the thing I remember most was how HOT it was, my cake melted outside on the patio while the service was going on! I also remember how surrounded by love I felt. My journey through Seminary was a long one. It was so lovely to look out and see so many people that had supported me through many ups and downs along the way. My friends, the Rev Eric Ledermann preached and Rev Dr Elizabeth Nordquist gave the charge. And we went out into the heat to eat melted cake to celebrate!
I was Ordained into hospice ministry. For three and a half years, I walked with individuals and families that were saying goodbye to life as they had known it so far. I felt it a huge privilege to be allowed in to someone’s life at such a vulnerable and precious time. There were a few patients that not just asked for spiritual support at the time, but also gave it back to me as well. It is the memories of those souls on the boundary of life and death, who still were giving back that remind me that we truly are, “surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses.”
The things that keep me sane are: walks on the beach, the loving support of a wonderful partner -in-crime, good friends who understand the importance of Mexican food and Theological beverages, and the occasional Disney escape (in films and trips to Disneyland, California).
My advice to those being ordained this month: When things get difficult, remember those people that are part of your “great cloud of witnesses”. They will remind you of the Call you have received, the journey you have made to get there, and that God has loved you through it all. Oh, and if it really hot, have your cake inside in the air conditioning!
Thanks, Kristina! It’s so funny from here in Scotland to think of it being hot enough for a cake to melt—a reminder that other people are blessed with more sun than I am. LOL!
How about the rest of you? What do you remember about your ordination day? What advice would you give those being ordained this month? What helps keep you sane in ministry? Share your stories below!
Teri Peterson is a minister in the Church of Scotland. She lives along the beautiful Firth of Clyde, where it’s been surprisingly cold and lacking in cake lately. She is co-author of Who’s Got Time: spirituality for a busy generation, a board member of RevGalBlogPals, and a contributor to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit.
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