January 22, 2012. My ordination day. Where to begin describing? With the attempted arrival of my family (Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Sister) on Friday night, of course. Originally, they were supposed to fly from Madison to Detroit to Philly, arriving at 5 PM. But thanks to delays and cancellations that plan soon went out the window. They were able to fly into Newark that night, which is about the same distance from us as Philly at 10:30 PM. We were able to get them to our apartment by midnight, before it snowed. The next day we relaxed and had a big breakfast and played games. Our big adventure was going to Target and then attending the service at Beau's church
On Sunday morning I picked them up between service, so they could see me "in action" during our 11 AM service. I didn't preach but I did the children's message, using at kitchen timer to talk about what Jesus may have meant when he said "The time is fulfilled." Just about every one in the church welcomed them and talked to them. Many people commented about how alike Katie and I look!
After church we went to lunch at Perkins nearby in Hightstown - lucky for us they could get us in right away because we were a big group. Then it was time for the "rehearsal" of the service with Bishop Riley. Julie S, a friend from college going to Gettysburg Sem, had arrived to be one of the lectors along with my sister Katie. We went through the service and people began to arrive. A bunch of my clergy friends from the cluster were there. We waited in the narthex area to process in, so I "missed" the first part of the service - all I could here was my colleague Jim going "wa-wa-wa." :)
Pastor Linda, who had become a good friend in our cluster and who had also been an intern at St. Paul a number of years ago, preached an amazing sermon on the call of Isaiah. I will never forget the "O woe is me!" bit. :) Suddenly it was time for the ordination part of the service. I made some promises, and the congregation made some promise too. Then my mom, Beau, and Jim put the stole on me, a stole my mom had made and had been blessed by my home congregation, Grace Lutheran Church, where I had been baptized, confirmed, and married. Then all the pastors gathered around me and put their hands on me. It was like being cocooned in the spirit. Then I was also installed (a two-for-one service) and took a field trip around the sanctuary to font, pulpit, and altar.
It was humbling and affirming at the same time. I was so glad to have been surrounded by not just the friends and family there physically, but also the presence of all the people who have helped my in my journey. And this journey is not over - it's just a new chapter beginning.