Saturday, February 9, 2013
Upcoming Ordination News
“Every priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God...he is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. No one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God...” Epistle to the Hebrews
February 9, 2012
Dear Family & Friends,
Grace and peace to you in the Name of Our Creator, Life Giver and Sustainer!
I write to you all with the blessed news that this June I will be priested in the Christian tradition in Northumbria, England by the Open Episcopal Church (OEC). Some know this to be the culmination of a journey that began was I was 7 years old and teaching Sunday School to my peers in a local Methodist Church. For others it might seem surprising or even sudden, but rest assured it has a been a journey not quickly nor passively taken. I have gratefully ministered in Baptist, Charismatic, Evangelical and Orthodox churches and finally found a home which is a true reflection of the Divine to me and my understanding of Jesus and his Gospel. It is with splendid thanksgiving that I humbly draw near to the altar to receive the laying on of hands and prayers tracing back to the first Apostles of Jesus.
The OEC is a quickly growing progressive and inclusive denomination with roots and Apostolic Succession found in the ancient Church of the Netherlands. She cherishes the ancient orthodox and catholic traditions of Christianity, while being open to the many faith practices of the world and the reality of science, modern knowledge and critical thought. In the United Kingdom she has been an outspoken voice for social justice issues and equal human rights for all God’s children. Her archbishop resides in London and parishes are found across England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and even Thailand. Her ministries are both traditional and modern being found in church buildings, private homes, nursing homes, the streets, gardens and wherever people can be found in need of God’s unfathomable grace. I will be the first priest in North America in communion with the OEC, commissioned to begin an inclusive religious work here. For the present time, I will continue to work my secular job simultaneously as I begin to establish a ministry presence.
Some of my immediate tasks will be my continued participation in the local LGBTQ community: Speaking for Indiana University panels concerning sexuality & faith, the directing of a local teen support group for LGBTQ teenagers or those who come from alternative households and ministering directly to those who have found themselves outside mainstream Christianity due to their sexuality and struggling with self worth.
I will also continue to offer spiritual direction and counseling via social media, telephone and Skype sessions to those who reach out. These endeavors will form the basis for beginning a web-based parish which will offer the Liturgy, prayer, direction and familial community to those who are unable to find a welcoming church elsewhere. The radically open and inclusive vision of the OEC is not to hide behind walls or temples. Rather the aim is to wastefully bring forth the compassion of God into the world around us, by all means possible, and to bar none from the sacraments. The prayerful hope is to reach those who are shut in, emotionally wounded, or too spiritually harmed to seek out a traditional parish at this point in their life. I will also resume chaplaincy work in the local hospitals, as I did while an Orthodox cleric. Locally, the sacraments will be offered to all who genuinely seek them including the Eucharist, baptisms, weddings and funerals. I have one wedding already scheduled and look forward to the honor and privilege of celebrating the charity of God found in holy relationships.
Upon my husband’s employment and relocation I will begin to work on establishing a brick and mortar parish in our new area while maintaining the web-based community. There I will also begin to work on creating a non-profit organization in order to increase the possibilities of successfully ministering to those in physical need: the hungry, homeless and distressed. A comprehensive five year plan concerning my intent to minister the grace of God and freedom of Christ was a requirement during my discernment process, if you desire please ask for a copy. I will also be undertaking the mission of expanding the work of the OEC in the USA and increasing her presence here. My heart is to proclaim boldly the words of St. John: God is Love! And to strive to be an embodiment of Christ’s foremost command: ‘Love the Lord your God’ & 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’
I ask for your prayers and best wishes for myself, Andrew and Lil D as we embark upon this journey. I am so very thankful for a spouse who supports me in this work, unknowing of exactly where it will lead or what each step will look like. The ordination itself will occur during the OEC Annual Congress June 15-17, 2013. Andrew and I will be traveling to England together following our formal wedding celebration this summer for the occasion and also to see the beautiful lands of Scotland and Ireland. It will be a memorable summer filled with many sacred occasions. If you desire to give an ordination gift it will be used towards the many liturgical items that I will need including vestments, chalice, paten, travel Mass kit, etc. Any gift is truly appreciated and helps offset the expenses of beginning this ministry. Please remember to share with me the names of all those, living or departed, whom you wish to be remembered when the Holy Eucharist is offered. Prayer and fellowship are the hallmarks of all the world’s faith expressions leading us into greater love and an embrace of all creation by means of communion with the Divine and with each other.
May this new work be a success by the strength of the Holy One, your prayers and the prayers of all who have gone before us, most especially Our Lady.
Peace be with you all,