Marion Visel will be ordained this Sunday morning. The Service of Ordination will begin at 11 a.m. and will be followed by a reception.
In our Unitarian Universalist tradition, only a congregation can grant ordination. Each congregation is independent and democratic. The Unitarian Universalist Association provides services which none of our congregations could do alone. But the UUA does not ordain. That power, and that responsibility, is invested in us.
Marion came to our congregation several years ago during the early years of our effort to be an open, intentionally welcoming congregation to gay and lesbian men and women. We needed all the help we could get, and Marion was a wonderful addition, both to that effort and to our religious community. She joined the church in 1994.
Marion moved from pew to ministerial leadership. I’m glad to have been involved in that process with her — the decision to go to seminary, to follow the community ministry track, and accept work as a hospice chaplain. I hope to continue to share her journey as she digs deeper into ministry in the years ahead.
Ordination is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we’re privileged to share that with Marion. For her part, she’s making public her personal and private commitment to this calling. Our part is to acknowledge and affirm her appropriateness for our ministry and our ongoing support. I hope you’re able to share in this special occasion.
Last Sunday we were hit with the second Saturday snow storm of the season. At 9 a.m. Barbara, Ed and I gathered the hardy group of twenty in front of the sanctuary for an intimate service with candle lighting and meditation. Barbara and I read Robert Frost’s moving poem, The Death of the Hired Man, which is a conversation between husband and wife about the hired hand who always left in haying time, but who came home to die.
Mary says to her husband, “Warren, he has come home to die. You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.” “Home,” he mocked gently, then, he said, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” She responds, “I should have called it something you somehow haven’t to deserve.”
A good group got shoveled out by 11 a.m. We were able to follow the original plan. Looking out the sanctuary windows at the sun on the fresh snow helped to heal places we didn’t even know were wounded. It was wonderful. I was glad to be able to do the sermon I’d planned.
Since I didn’t do that sermon at 9 a.m., I will offer Natural Selections at the first service this Sunday. I’m enthused about putting the poetry anthology together, including a recording of each of the poems I’ve selected — poems that touch the sacred, for me.