Do you, Chelwood CRC, take this minister to have and hold from this day forward? And do you, the new minister take this church to have and hold from this day forward?
Quick--what do installation/ordination services have in common with weddings? Both are celebrated with reverence and exuberance. Both are centered around human promises that reflect the love and promises of God. Both are in season now! As wedding season fades, installation/ordination season peaks as Candidates are called and as other ministers take advantage of summer breaks to move their families.
Chelwood CRC in Albuquerque is thanking God for sending them a new minister. Now they are planning the Installation service and want to celebrate the occasion with reverence and exuberance.
There are standard services and forms for Ordination/Installation, but as with weddings, the participants often want to put their own creative spin on the event while maintaining the best of traditions. Let’s help Chelwood and other churches by remembering some of the best worship expressions of installation and ordination services.
Here are a few ideas to start:
#1. As in weddings, gifts can play an important role in installation and ordination services.
First CRC in Denver has had the joyous privilege of ordaining five ministers in the past five years. One of our traditions is to present the ordinand with a gift that reflects the role and office.
- Joel Schreurs received several ceremonial gifts including a new pair of shoes --his wife said he needed them!-- representing the task of walking in the lives of the congregation.
- Matthew Lanser was leaving for the mission field so he received a clock that displayed time for multiple places in the world including Nigeria, Denver, and other places that support them.
- We ordained Samantha and Nate DeJong-McCarron who are planting a church in Denver so they were given a wagon with planting equipment, seeds and bulbs.
- A talented seamstress in the congregation made me a beautiful stole using some of my favorite fabrics, including some that represented places in the world that have shaped my life.
Other creative ideas for gifts can be found in this article.
#2. Calling plays a significant part in connecting churches and pastors. One way to reflect the biblical tradition of calling is to use incidents of God calling Bible characters in the liturgy. Here’s a start, but don’t stop here. Think of other places in scripture that might apply more directly to the specific calling of the person being ordained or installed.
The voice of the Lord came to Samuel:
And he replied, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." (1 Sam. 3:10)
The voice of the Lord said to Isaiah: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for me?"
And he replied, "Here am I. Send me." (Arts 8:30-31)
This article from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has several ideas for services. See Service 4 for more of the calling liturgy.
#3. Songs: What songs have you heard that would be great for these services? We’ve used the lyrics of Come Celebrate the Call of God with the tune ELLACOMBE. Another favorite is Breathe On Me, Breathe of God, Psalter Hymnal #420.
What do you remember of ordination services at your church? Were they both solemn and celebrating?