It’s my anniversary!

layingon

Eight years ago today I was ordained to Christian ministry. Like today, it was a hot, muggy July day. The A/C worked to keep up. And we enjoyed some prime family time. My co-ordinand, Glenn, and I chose a “luau” theme to keep things in the spirit of celebration. And celebrate we did!

In these eight years, I’ve worked in 3 hospitals, 2 churches and one hospice group. I completed four units of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) after finishing my Masters of Divinity.

It’s been a good journey. Difficult at times, stressful at many points, but it’s inconceivable to me that I would be doing something else. (And yes. I do know what that words means. 😉 )

But beyond remembering and thanking God for these holy moments and encouragers, I look forward to more years in harness, doing the work that I’m called to.

Thanks be to God.

Ordination Day

The weekend started with flowers from my beloved…

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.]

SO
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:

(Naomi’s not eating an ice cream cone… she wrapped her lei around her mic!)

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…

…who made her mother cry…


My beloved gave me several words of love and affirmation. And then told everyone “I always wanted to be a preacher’s wife.” After we stopped laughing… he talked a little more. I love this guy.


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.


Glenn spoke first and gave the devotional. Not as “short” as anticipated. However, it was his day and no one held a timer.


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.


While the elements were being passed… The Harpist played “Be Thou My Vision” as a special gift. It was great. (I could not talk Reedy Girl into playing too.)


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.

Final thoughts…

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…

I am Called to this.
And that’s just (still) an amazing, incredible thing.
Even with the “sharks” and the real, human pain.
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…
God said… “yes. this one too.”
Amazing!

Deb


P.S. Sorry this was so long… did I bore you?

Blown away…

God is good.

You get reminders, marks in the timeline to give you courage, hope and joy for the days you have fear, despair and grief.

And today was definitely one of those days to remember and to celebrate…

Pictures and more thoughts to come.

I am blessed by God’s love and encouraged by God’s grace.

And I am totally blown away!

Deb

continuing the journey…

It’s hard to believe. It’s happening on Saturday. Along with my co-worker, Glenn, I’m getting ordained by my church.

Part of me says, “it’s ONLY a piece of paper.”
Part of me says, “it’s a BIG HONKIN’ DEAL!”
And a good part of me is terrified.

The prayers will be said, the laying on of hands will take place… People will say (hopefully) encouraging things. My husband and kids, my mom and at least one of my sibs will be there. People who have loved and encouraged and walked this road with me will be there. Church family and staff will be there.

In the end. It’s still me. I haven’t changed. And yet, I have. The journey continues. I am standing on the edge of something huge and beyond my comprehension…

If you had told me five years ago that I would be looking to this day… I would have laughed. Hard. I would have been wondering if it could happen… if this dream, so long ago crushed and put down because it “wasn’t biblical for women to be ordained”… if I could dare to see it come to pass. I can hardly believe it’s almost here.

And yet, here I am.

Grateful. Delighted. And a little stunned…

Prayers appreciated. (And yes – I will post pictures…)

Deb

Virtual Meet-up

What’s this about at ParTAAaaayy???

The first RevGal to hear about the ParTAAAAY coming up on July 12th was Mary Beth. And it just seemed to be Providential. (Not that I didn’t want to tell the rest of you…) When we had a virtual meet-up via cell phones, she found THIS outside her hotel on the streets of DC!!

Why is this so amazing? Well, the parTAAAAy is going to be more of a celebration than a solemnization. We will have a time of worship and prayer – contemporary and not especially liturgical – which fits our church. And there will be reading of Scripture and a “charge” to us. The other ordinand is Glenn, who is a co-worker, friend and one of the funniest people I know. His only request was that we NOT have something that required ties. Or robes. And my only desire was for air conditioning!!!

As we talked about it, more and more, we agreed that the act of “ordination” is the People of God saying “we agree with where God is leading you.” And we want the people we care about, the folks we know best to be a part of it. It also is a time to acknowledge that we are “set apart” to do the ministry God has Called us to — not because we are “special” or super Christians, just that this is how we will live out and use our giftings for God. And we know that Jesus showed up at a lot of parties…

So, we hit on the idea of an Ordination Luau! Hawaiian shirt required (or at least encouraged!) Ties and fancy schmancy dress refused. And uh, no. I ain’t wearing no coconut bra! The quest is on for a flattering Hawaiian shirt. Which might be an oxymoron… but…

ParTaaayyyy on!

Deb