This month we get to celebrate our September ordiversaries by starting with an extra special one: a FIRST ordiversary! Becky spent many years in administrative roles and in children’s ministry before following her call to ordination, including a move from a “women-remain-silent” denomination to another that affirms women’s gifts and calling. Here’s her story, to kick off our September ordiversary party!
1. Tell us a bit about your journey into ministry.
I am a second career person, which means I got into the minister game later in my life. I am not in my 20s or 30s straight from college, then to seminary. It took a bit to get my attention. My call was by stages, until I could not deny or say no. It has been a struggle and I have lost loved ones along the way, but I can do no other.
2. What’s something you remember from your ordination?
September 15, 2019, First Presbyterian Church, Las Animas, CO. The biggest memory is that one of my mentors and former pastor that I first asked the question, “do you think I could be a preacher?” was the one that did my charge and placed the stole around my neck for the first time. Even though I had been serving in many capacities in the church, I had not worn a stole until that very time. He surprised me by making the trip across the mountain to attend my ordination, I did not expect him to be able to make it since he is older and has had health issues of late.
3. It’s been quite a first year of ordained ministry for you — what do you wish you’d learned in seminary, one year in?
Especially during a world-wide pandemic. No one could have prepared me for what that would bring up.
I do think that seminary did train me well in a lot of ways but there could have been a little bit more preparation on how to moderate the session in business meetings, and more practical side of ministry. Also, conflict resolution is also needed. I did a year in residency while I was completing ordination requirements and that year was a great way to pick up on things that I missed at seminary and great on the job training.
Get a great mentor that is not connected with the congregation that will listen and be there for you.
4. How have you been taking care of yourself in the midst of all the challenges?
I just took a short vacation and took some well needed rest. Making sure I observe my Sabbath Day off and respect it. Creating boundaries and realistic expectations of myself and cutting myself some slack. It has been a year full of learning and challenges. But this is more than just a job and a paycheck to me.
Meeting with mentors and others that help support me and have emotional support when things get challenging and they will.
5. What advice would you give to those being ordained this month?
Relax and breathe. Nothing is perfect and without mistakes or bloopers. Enjoy the memories that you are experiencing, it is the only time you will be ordained. You will be installed elsewhere but this is the ordination service. One chapter of the journey is over, but the real work is just beginning.
Thanks Becky! I am so excited to see what ministry has in store for you in coming years, as you’ve done an amazing job in year one!
How about the rest of you — were you ordained in September? Share something of your ordination memories with us, and also some tips for taking care of yourself in these times!
Rev. Teri Peterson is a minister in the Church of Scotland, living on the west coast with her cat and an amazing view. She serves on the Board of RevGalBlogPals, and she loves a good party. #enneagram7
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