Alissa (middle) with Susan and I. We are part of a six person
online women's group who has been "meeting" for over ten years.Yesterday we went to my friend, Alissa's, ordination. According to the Mennonite church, ordination is "an act by which the church, after appropriate personal and corporate discernment, calls and appoints a person to a leadership ministry in the life and mission of the church." (definition from here and taken from the "1989 Article".) After celebrating Alissa'a ordination with her, and listening to the sermon, I would describe ordination as a marriage ceremony between a (and "the") church and their pastor. The reason I say that is the preacher said ordination was an exchanging of mutual promises. The candidate promises that she will serve the church to the best of her abilities and remain faithful to the gospel and the church promises that they will be supportive of, and life-giving to, the candidate.
The table at the front of the church was filled with things which have
been significant in Alissa's journey as a Christian and a pastor.The reason I said " 'a' (and "the") chuch" above is because, in our Mennonite faith, ordination happens within the context of a specific church (this is not the first church where Alissa has been the pastor, for instance), but she is also supported by the conference, both regionally and nationally. Alissa will keep her ordained status even once (if?!) she leaves the specific church where she is currently working.
As a memento of Alissa's ordination day, we got to take home
a hydrangea which we will plant in our new yard in August.Ordination is a public recognition that Alissa feels her calling as a pastor is a vocation, and we, as her faith community, affirm and celebrate that God has called her by name, and we recognize her gifts and abilities to lead us, as God's people, in the church. (Most of the above came from the sermon at Alissa's ordination, which was preached by Dave Bergen, who works for our national church conference as the Executive Minister for Formation.)
*Note: Techinically I think Alissa is now Reverend "Her Last Name" (which I don't want to share on the blog), but on Facebook yesterday people were adding all sorts of things. The title is a compilation of all those suggested titles and not what you (or anyone) have to officially call her. However I might do that once in awhile just to make her