Ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament

Written by Joel on March 21st, 2011

I was ordained on March 19, which was Saturday of the Lenten Embertide, at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Hagerstown, MD. My family, friends, and church members helped to celebrate the occasion.

I am told too that my 3 month old daughter physically jumped from a still-quiet sleep in mom’s arms during the laying on of hands – perhaps babies are quite receptive to the moving of the Holy Spirit?

It was an ecumenical-liturgical service. Afterward, Christians of various traditions commented on the service: Catholics recognized it as a Catholic service, Lutherans recognized it as a Lutheran service, Episcopalians recognized it as an Episcopalian service, Methodist recognized it as a Methodist service, and Disciples… well few Disciples seemed to recognize the service as something of their own, but they joined their hearts in a worship form which was new to many of them.

I am very thankful for all the support I had both in the years leading up to this celebration, and the ordination service itself. We were blessed with the musical talents of Matthew Albright and April DeShong (both on staff at F.C.C. Hagerstown); the preaching of The Reverend Ken Collins, pastor of Garfield Memorial Christian Church; and the ministry of the Christian Church Capital Area with Reverend Lari Grubs, the regional minister. Rev. Harris who was pastor of FCC Hagerstown when I first heard the whispering of the Spirit’s call to the ministry, the nurturing committee, and all those faithful Christians I have met along my spiritual journey thus far.

My mother-in-law made a beautiful red chasuble for the occasion. It’s Gothic-style with an embroidered dove and flame. This liturgical art piece comes with an interesting story. She said she got the pattern and material form a convent in New York which specializes in making vestments. She was in conversation with a nun who taught her how to make it. It took her three days to work up the courage to cut into the beautiful fabric.

The interim-pastor’s wife made the stole for me which is embroidered with my name, date and occasion. It also has a nice chalice with St. Andrew’s cross (The symbol for the Disciples of Christ) at the neck.

My mom (also with my sister from AZ who could not join us) presented a beautiful print of the Saint John’s Bible Gospels & Acts. View it online.

Also my dad presented a Holy Communion set for travel. I am looking forward to using it at an outdoor baptism service later this Summer.

Unfortunately, few photos exist for whatever reason. My father-in-law took some pictures following the laying on of hands when I shared some words with the congregation (the photo above). Perhaps no one was Spirit-led to snap some photos, or perhaps folks felt awkward to interrupt with photography, and maybe it simply slipped everyone’s mind.

But, perhaps it is a good thing that there aren’t photos that I might dwell on a single moment in the past. This past Sunday’s Gospel about Nicodemus reminds us that the Spirit blows where he will; you cannot tell where he comes from or where he is going. I, along with all those who joined in the celebration on Saturday, will have that shared experience of the Spirit. We won’t be able to look back at a moment frozen in time; instead we are challenged to remember the experience and to seek the Holy Spirit’s movement in this life of ministry ahead of me.


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