We have the opportunity and the privilege this spring to be ordaining a new UU minister! On Sunday, April 22, 2018, our congregation will celebrate Mandy Beal’s achievement by our act of ordination during a special ordination service that afternoon. We will follow the service by hosting a festive reception in the Parish Hall.
Congregational polity is the heart of our faith. We are not a denomination in the traditional sense – we are an Association of congregations that covenant together. While our UUA headquarters oversees the training and approval of people for UU ministry, the sacred responsibility of actually ordaining a person to our ministry lies solely with our congregations.
Services of ordination connect a congregation to our larger movement today, while also supporting and ensuring the future of our faith. It is our chance, and our responsibility (as we did with Rebecca Hinds who is now successfully serving one of our congregations in Iowa) to help our faith meet the challenges of the next generation.
You will remember that Mandy served as our Youth Coordinator in 2013-14 while she finished her education at Andover-Newton Theological Seminary, after which she served a two-year internship with the First Parish in Lincoln. In 2015, she became a FUSN member, citing our congregation as the one she most admired and felt a deep connection to. She also asked and received from the Board of Trustees FUSN’s sponsorship of her path to ministry. During her internship period, she stayed in touch with FUSN, including preaching here several times – most recently this past Veterans’ Day with a moving reflection on her own and others’ personal struggles around honoring military service.
This past September, after completing her internship and other UUA requirements, she was welcomed into Preliminary Fellowship by the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee. With ordination the next step, she asked FUSN to ordain her in our sanctuary in April. The Board of Trustees approved her request in November, with enthusiasm!
I am honored to have been asked to chair Mandy’s ordination committee, charged with planning and hosting the event and the reception. Our committee also includes Jeannie Chaisson and Ted Hess-Mahan from FUUSN, and a member of the Lincoln congregation – and Mandy, of course. Stay tuned for more specifics from us as the date draws nearer.
Ordination is the act of conferring ministerial authority on a person. In our tradition, it is the congregation’s duty to determine if a person possesses the qualities of a minister and is ready for that responsibility. We invite you all to join Mandy, Erin, the Board of Trustees, and the entire FUUSN congregation on April 22 in undertaking this sacred responsibility.