“We’re gonna get you ordained!” The deacon chair of Scott Boulevard Baptist Church said enthusiastically as she motioned for me to back to the deacon’s meeting.
The pastor and I had discussed earlier that when he introduced the first order of business I was to excuse myself- because the first order of business was me.
After initiating the process twice with 2 different pastors, the deacons agreed tonight that they are making a recommendation at Sunday’s church conference that the congregation of Scott Boulevard enter into a process of ordination with me.
I’m excited, and I’m thankful for the influences of the first two pastors with whom I was working toward this end… I learned so much and received so much support from both of them.
But I’m also a little tired. The emotional energy required to go from one process to another and then another is fairly extensive.
Look up Psalms of disorientation- that concept is a good way to explain kind of how it’s been: going from baseline normal to upheaval to a new normal, then to upheaval again and back to a new normal.
Gwen Brown, one of my mentors, approached me about ordination when I was worshipping at Cornerstone, the church she pastored in Snellville,GA.
Gwen gave me my first shot at preaching in a church, and after I’d been in her church for about a year, she pulled me aside after church one day and said “we need to start thinking about your ordination.”
I happily said ok, but when Gwen died last year, the process was stopped. I wanted to stay with Cornerstone but it was such a long drive to Snellville, so I began attending Druid Hills Baptist Church in hopes that eventually I could be recommended for ordination there.
The pastor there, Mimi, was my Spiritual Formation professor and her husband was my Theology professor- and it was easy to find a place to serve there because they are a congregation with their finger on the pulse of the community around them.
I was quickly welcomed in and right around the time I was writing my statement of faith and preparing to form my council, Scott Boulevard called me as Associate Pastor of Ministry with Aging.
We’ve been crazy busy lately but tonight, at least for me, things mellowed out a little as I saw the smile on Norma’s face and heard her words “we’re gonna get you ordained.”
It feels right to be here, and to know that the congregation being asked to ordain me represents the very demographic I initially went to seminary to learn how to serve.
Once the recommendation is made at the conference and the congregation votes to approve, I will begin a 3 month observation time- so that the members and staff can observe me in ministry and so that I can prepare for my council which will be in late January or early February.
I was telling the pastor today, I like that timeline and this process.
Ordination for me was never about me needing it for chaplaincy. I’m seeking ordination because I see it as a tangible representation of my calling,
because as a closet Episcopalian as my CPE peers called me, I value ritual and vestments are the liturgical love of my life, and also because it gives me a way to honor Gwen’s influence on my ministry formation and her legacy of believing in people and empowering people to believe in themselves.
I can’t wait to share the process with my family and friends, and to put on my stole. I’m totally gonna wear it as a scarf.
Stay tuned 🙂