Telling Stories as Ritual 

March 20, 2018

At Hank Perry's lovely Memorial Service last Saturday, his adult granddaughter and mother of his great-grandson, age 18 months, reflected on the power of story, the passing on of lessons learned and passions shared. She observed that while this dear little great grandbaby will not actually remember his great-grandfather, they will make sure he knows Hank. Write letters, send cards, keep family journals, look at actual photo albums and tell the stories within our families to sustain the richness of the past. 

How does a denomination tell its story, keep faith alive? For me, it’s about keeping covenant within community and ritual. We heard last Sunday that a covenant made within church is a pledge we ‘enter into’ in community. We ‘know’ the story of our faith by way of covenant. And frequently covenants are expressed through ritual.

Through the years, Plymouth Church has cared for and walked with seminarians who seek Ordination as ministers in the United Church of Christ. Among friends ordained into ministry in Plymouth Sanctuary are Susan Yarrow Morris, Vivian Bowden and Jan Van Pelt. And we plan a Spring Ordination Saturday, May 5, when Laura Robinson, daughter of Tony and Linda Robinson, is ordained at 1 pm. All are invited to attend this wonderful ritual!

While each Ordination Service represents a glorious celebration of individual commitment, reflection and study, each candidate's success lies within a wider faith community. A significant and nearly final step in the ordination process is the candidate's appearance before the Conference Committee on Ministry to discuss their ordination paper (like a PhD thesis), dialogue with members (about 15 retired and active clergy and lay representatives) about their faith journey and respond to questions. Laura sat with the Committee February 8, with her mentor Kris Anderson Ostrem, and two members of her Plymouth Discernment Committee, Tom Maul and Diane Kenny.  The clarity, passion and humility with which Laura engaged the Committee on February 8 reflected, in part, what it can mean to experience God within a covenantal community.

You are invited to share and witness the wonderful ritual of ordaining another of our community into ministry within the United Church of Christ. Be part of this Story – it is as much your story as it is Laura's. – Diane Kenny, Plymouth Discernment Committee for Laura Robinson


Topics: Church Life, Events


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Read the related article: Supporting Those on the Path to Ordination: Part 1


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