FIRST… you must remember that I’m part of a contemporary, seeker-sensitive, nonliturgical church.
THEN… you need to know that very few of this denomination’s “loosely affiliated” churches (The Christian Church) ordain women.
FINALLY… I guess it’s just simply this. I started seminary 25 years ago. Saturday, July 12th was a LONG time coming! (And I’m not done with school – Since I restarted in Fall 2006, I am halfway through my MDiv and will graduate in 2010. Since I am a Distance Ed. student, it takes longer.)
[edited to add… I forgot to mention… We don’t own a building. We rent movie theaters. We needed a venue for the ceremony and parTAY. Churches in our “loosely affiliated denomination” were not approached because they not only frown on ordaining women, they are downright nasty about it. Public spaces (rec. departments, etc.) did not allow live music. And while the thought of a water park sounded really great… I knew it had to be an air-conditioned space. SO just finding a place was a huge task. Thanks to my maintaining friendships with a previous church, we were able to use their “chapel” for the ceremony.]
With those caveats, here’s a photo blog of ORDINATION DAY!!!
We wanted a more laid-back, fun celebration. Yes, there would be reading and responding to vows. Yes, we wanted to sing and worship and have Communion. But we didn’t want to be so holy and sanctimonious that we couldn’t let a little joy out… So we picked a “luau” theme for the decorations (hence the Hawaiian shirts and leis!) and the parTAY started…
Naomi, Scott and Bill led the worship music:
- My Savior by Aaron Shust
- Your Grace is Enough by Chris Tomlin
- Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman
- Let It Rise by Big Daddy Weave
- Not to Us by Chris Tomlin (actually the closing song)
Mark (our Lead Pastor) did the honors as far as MC and keeping all the ducks in a row. He also gave the introduction and testimony on behalf of my fellow ordinand, Glenn.
Darin, our outreach pastor, gave the intro and testimony for me. And offered me some really REALLY good advice –
– keep reading and learning
– stay in the Word
– continue to love and cherish my family
– find ways to feed my soul in the midst of the stress of ministry
(See? I was listening!)
Our vows. This was the part where they led us through our ordination vows. Even in this, there was laughter. I had this mental image of them whispering to each other… “Cream pies on the ordinands’ faces in 3…. 2…. 1….”
Congregational encouragement. After we made our vows, the congregation was asked if anyone had any words of encouragement to offer… first one out of the gate – she popped up right away! was our lovely Harpist…
The laying on of hands. Some dear friends and mentors around us. It was an amazing moment. Truly. I felt their love. God’s love. Their affirmation. God’s warmth in my heart. 100 people watching and believing it was true and cheering us on.
Following that, I led a meditation leading into Communion and the distribution of the elements. The funniest moment for me was mid-way into my meditation, I looked over at the chair where I had been sitting, and there were my sandals! I had forgotten to slip my feet back into them before I walked up front. I’m just so comfortable being barefoot… I didn’t even realize it until it was too late. (Oops. Don’t tell Peace Bang.) No one seemed to care. Only my family teased me. I tried to recover by saying I was on “holy ground” but they didn’t buy it.
So… instead Reedy Girl took pictures. And afterwards, we celebrated her 13th birthday! (Which was actually earlier in the week…. but with Grandma and aunts in town, it seemed like a good idea to wait for the family gathering.)
Some pictures I didn’t get… of the reception and party following, where we had pulled pork BBQ and a spread of side dishes that made the tables groan. My family helped make several large platters of fresh fruit. They were munched down with a passion! People stayed and talked for over an hour. There was a lot of laughter and fun which is how we wanted it. I’m just not a punch and cake kinda gal.
I’m just stunned at the blessing and the outpouring of love. That people wanted to COME to this event? I mean, they really did. Over and over they thanked me (or Glenn) for including them. I couldn’t get over that. And then, they kept saying these great things about us. It’s hard to believe your own press clippings when you see your failures or know your own heart so well. One of my mentors commented to me that this is a mile marker for helping me “put a stake in the ground” to be able to look back, see it and remember…
And that’s just (still) an amazing, incredible thing.
Even with the hassles and the petty, STOOPID things that people do to each other.
And even in spite of my own mistakes and issues…