At the end of October in Auburn, Maine, I will participate in the ordination of Charlotte Lehman, the final member of my seminary class to be ordained. We started at Meadville Lombard Theological School together in 2009 and graduated together in 2012. Some of our original cohort dropped out of the process along the way. Some were ordained almost immediately on graduation. For others of us, the steps took longer.
My friend Charlotte, though, knew that ministry is her calling. Roadblocks in her path did not deter her. Indeed, I have never known anyone more committed to Unitarian Universalist ministry. So it gives me an especial joy to be the one to offer to her the words known as the “Charge to the Minister.”
Frequently the “Charge” is given by a senior minister with wisdom accumulated over long service. But our tradition also expects the minister being ordained to select participants who represent something meaningful to them. Charlotte chose a friend who had walked the long path with her.
In keeping with our tradition, I will craft the words of this charge rather than reading long-established words. My ministry with you will supply the substance. The most important thing I can charge her to do in her ministry is to love the people of the congregation she will serve. To take the tasks and functions of ministry seriously, of course, but to hold them gently in the light of love.
My gratitude to you all! You make it so easy for me to love you. We are off to a good start in this “church year” with seven new members since July. We have joined water together and kicked off the religious education year. May this be another year of love and growth together!
Peace and Blessings,