Service to God takes many forms
The Rev. Maria Campbell, pastor, Central United Methodist Church, 1501 Mass.:
By God’s grace and with the support of family, friends and faith community, I knelt June 5 and heard Bishop Scott Jones pray as his hands were upon my head during my ordination. The weight of the responsibility at that moment could be physically felt, but the surrounding presence of God overshadowed it. You see, I know without a doubt that the only reason I have been ordained is that God called me to a life of professional ministry. I say professional ministry because I believe that all people are called to be ministers in God’s name. God created the glorious world in which we live and gave humans stewardship (caretaking responsibilities) over it. We don’t all have the same “job,” but each one is given a special ability to enable all people and creatures to thrive and experience justice.
As an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church, I will devote my life to the ministries that the bishop discerns will enable God’s reign to flourish. I am blessed to serve as the pastor of Central UMC. I am called to lead the church to be faithful to God’s desires by participating in the life of their community, our country and our world. (Some clergy serve in extension ministries beyond the local church.) The blessing for me is that I am able to journey with people as they discover the fullness of a relationship with God through worship, study and service. The joy of baptizing children and adults, the delight in joining two individuals in the covenant of marriage and the privilege of walking with members as they approach death create the holy ground upon which I serve.
I am equipped by God to do that which I could not do on my own. And, it is by God’s grace alone that I can accomplish the work I am ordained to do.
— Send e-mail to Maria Campbell at email@example.com
Doing Lord’s work is a celebration
Valerie Miller-Coleman, executive director of Family Promise of Lawrence, www.lawrencefamilypromise. org:
In the United Church of Christ, ordination to ministry seems like a wedding. A date must be reserved, music arranged, ministers invited, a liturgy designed and a reception planned with cake and punch in the fellowship hall. There are vows. Like a wedding, the service of ordination confirms publicly a call heard in private. I hear this call when a family comes to me seeking shelter and I am able to unite them with a compassionate congregation. I hear it when I cannot sit still for the excitement of planning new ways for people of faith to encounter the spirit through relationship with one another and with those in need of their help. I hear it again when hearts seem hardened, when no progress seems possible, when families find themselves with their backs against the wall. In those times I am left alone with God’s promise that wholeness and healing will ultimately triumph. The reality of God’s grace falls into sharp relief, and a call is spoken plainly: Go and minister with God’s people.
The ministry for which I am now ordained serves God’s people through Family Promise of Lawrence. Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ confirms the call I hear to serve through Family Promise. On Sunday, Plymouth ordained me in covenant with the United Church of Christ. My family came. Family Promise volunteers gathered into the sanctuary. UCC, Presbyterian and Baptist ministers attended, along with one of my favorite Benedictine Sisters, Sister Carol Ann Petersen, director of the Keeler Women’s Center in Kansas City, Kan. Many members of our Plymouth family filled the pews. Kim Manz played my favorite country gospel music; we all sang, and some of us danced. The spirit of God came and nudged us deeper into ministry together.
— Send e-mail to Valerie Miller-Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.