The Path to Ordination
On Tuesday, after years of being a minister, I became an Ordained Minister with the Centers for Spiritual Living.
The final step on this years-long path was sitting at an Ordination Panel with three ordained ministers who asked me many questions. They were probing to see if I had the consciousness of an ordained minister. Out of everything that they asked me, I think the most piercing question was simply, “Why do you want to become ordained?”
That question took me back to the first time I knew that I would become a minister. It was at a graduation ceremony held at Seaside CSL. I was there because a friend of mine had graduated from Ministerial School and another had completed Practitioner Training. I was sitting in the audience as they wrapped up the hours-long process when I heard the announcement that Rev. Katherine Economou, the Dean of the Ministerial School at Seaside, would be conducting an information session for people considering entering ministry. I wish I could say that the heavens parted, and I was suddenly spotlighted by a golden light, but it was far from that. Instead, my heart simply opened up to tell me that I needed to go to that meeting.
At that time, I had only been a practitioner for a year, I was in the prime of my existing career, and we were in the process of adopting my youngest son. Becoming a minister seemed impossible, and yet I went to the meeting. I could not reconcile making this massive change in my life, but my heart would not give up, so I became a regular at these annual information sessions. Rev. Katherine was always kind and told me that the path of ministry is something you should only take up if there is nothing else you can do in your life. It took six years for the “not yet” to become “now.” In that time, my job had transitioned from a high-stakes career as a manager to a lower-stress position that would allow me to go to school. I had also seasoned as a Practitioner, which made me more available to listen to my heart.
It was a four-year process of working full time and going to ministerial school. I fell in love with my fellow ministerial students. They became a new tribe of dedicated souls outside of my own Center, which gave me the courage to think that I might eventually leave my spiritual home that had been my nest for so many years.
More time passed in which I became a minister and eventually settled in as the Senior Minister at Ahiah, having replaced Rev. Charles Rose, who was at Ahiah for 27 years. As COVID became the reality of the day, the first opportunity to ask to become ordained passed, and then more opportunities flowed under the bridge, and I started inquiriong of myself the exact question that Rev. Susan asked me at my ordination panel. Why did I want to become ordained? It used to be that CSL required you to become ordained or eventually leave ministry, but that rule had gone away, so my head’s answer that it was required was no longer true. My answer to the panel was that by being there I was saying yes to being a minister for the rest of my life. There was not even a small thought that I was still testing the waters to see if this was what was right for me. My heart had been clear since that first moment of insight, but now the rest of me had caught up, and was fully committed to this life as a minister.
What I have learned on this Path to Ordination is that Spirit always supports us in our dreams. Sometimes the lessons that need to be learned require life to look like we are in hard times, and sometimes life just passes by with ease and grace, but I have always been supported on this path. I expect that I always will be. The only caveat is that we have to say YES to something, so that Spirit can reply in kind.
What are you saying yes to in your life? Whatever that is, be willing to participate in this process of transformation. It is likely to be the path less travelled, but it is the path of self fulfillment.