July 19, 2016

Installations, Birthdays, and Service

Y’all. It was a really cool weekend!!  On Sunday we held the Installation Service for me as your officially and ritually-instated Pastor.

Rev. Sotello Long, the Regional Minister of the Christian Church in South Carolina, presided over the service, and delivered to me a “charge” (abbreviated):

*Be faithful to God.
*Be faithful to your and family.
*Be faithful to your duties in extending the ministry of Christ throughFirst Christian Church, the Christian Church in South Carolina, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, and the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
*Be faithful to build relationships.
*Be faithful to stir up your gifts for ministry.
*Be faithful to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
*Be faithful to Rest and Rejuvenate.

I accepted that charge, but only with the addendum “with God’s help.”

The congregation said sentences such as:

“We, the members of First Christian Church, affirm our call to ministry in the name of Jesus, the Christ. As God’s servant people we accept these charges:
               to gather in common worship,
               to minister to all who seek spiritual nurture,
               to extend the hand of charity,
               to loose the bonds of bigotry, malice, hatred and ill will,
               to share the good news of God’s love in deed and word,
               to seek knowledge, that each generation may gain in wisdom.
Committed to these principles, we gladly receive Katherine as our minister, affirming her gifts of ministry. We pledge to her our support for her ministry among us. We covenant:
               to uphold her with our prayers,
               to share her joys and sorrows,
               to attend to her preaching and teaching of God’s word,   
               to welcome her pastoral care,
               and honor her leadership.”

Nothing logistically changes in my service to you after these sentences have been said. I have been serving as your settled Minister since May 1. However, I felt a spiritual change after these commitments were made. There is a freedom in this covenant – these pledges create a solid foundation from which we can leap into service together.

It happened to be my birthday on Sunday as well, and I can think of no better way to celebrate than with this act of pledged service to a congregation full of loving people, ready to go into God’s call to ministry together. It is an incredible honor, and thus an incredible gift that you are giving me, to accept and support my leadership and service.

Speaking of service, the Installation ceremony had a lot of service leading up to it. I am awed by the amount of time and energy that a few folks gave to make sure our facilities were spruced up in time for the event. There were hours of volunteer labor put in by a small few. THANK YOU!!!! Y’all are incredible servants, and the congregation is blessed by you.

Yours in Service and Joy,

Pastor Katherine