Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Annual Conference Reflections: Ordination

I'm still recovering from Annual Conference and ordination and everything. Wow. I was so wound up leading up to Friday, the day of my ordination. I knew I was excited, but I didn't realize how high my energy level was, the stress/anxiety that was tied up with it, the fatigue that would follow, the Spirit that would move, the everything.

Wednesday was clergy session - the last vote. We were asked to share "something we'd like them to know about us." I was pacing outside as I was waiting for my turn to speak. The clergy session voted to elect the five of us who were there. I didn't have doubts about this, really, but still, nerves were shared as we waited. Thursday night was the rehearsal. Getting all the details worked out. Who sits where. Who processes when. Who gets what section of Hendricks Chapel to serve communion in.

Friday, the big day. Following a day of Annual Conference session, of course. Everything was wonderful. As we processed in during the opening hymn, I was almost to the front before I realized I wasn't actually singing. I tried, but didn't work. Hard to sing with a huge grin interrupting. Heart racing. Excellent sermon by Bishop Fisher: "Being the Word." Then the big event. I walked up onto stage with my two sponsors - my mentor, Rev. Marilyn Baissa, and my pastor for eleven years, Rev. Bruce Webster. The bishop also called onto stage my uncle, Rev. Bill Mudge, which was awesome. As soon as a knelt down, I lost the composure I had been struggling to maintain.

If you know me, or have been reading my blog long enough, perhaps you've sensed an edge of sarcasm. I was worried that my sarcasm would get in the way of my ability to be 100% in the moment of ordination. Worried that I wouldn't feel it somehow, if that makes sense. But I had no such problems. Very powerful. The weight of hands - the bishop's, my sponsors', my DS's. "Take thou authority." My mother and a dear woman from my congregation presented my stole, which my mother had special ordered. It was made up of stoles from special people in my life - my uncle, my great uncles, a former candidacy mentor, the pastor emeritus where I grew up, etc. Then turning and facing the congregation, which had about five rows of people from my church in the front pews, all smiling and supporting, and lots of family too.

I got to serve communion with my Uncle, and serve all those who had come to support me. Especially sweet was that several of my youth from CCYM had come several hours just to see more ordained. I was very touched by that.

Sunday night, after annual conferernce, my congregation threw me a party and showered me with beautiful gifts, including a scrapbook filled with thoughts and wishes and prayers. What a weekend.

Oh yeah, and we had some annual conference business too. ;) More on that later.
Ordination actually made the Syracuse paper twice. I had my picture in for rehearsal, and then there was this full story the next day. Not bad!

Thanks, too, for all of your kind words!
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