Clippings / Ordination & Installation

Clippings / Ordination & Installation

Clippings – The Morganton Years

The Orange Wheelbarrow

I have an orange wheelbarrow that meanders through my garden. Years ago, I found it on the front porch of my home in Morganton. It was given to me by three friends – Michael, David and Scott. The three friends who were my age suffered through my rant.

They were all on their way to being very successful. They were all making lots of money. They were all living in huge homes and driving cars that I could only dream of driving. Meanwhile, I was figuring out a payment plan for a new wheelbarrow. It wasn’t my proudest moment.

It’s a thirty-year-old wheelbarrow now. It carries the things that have had their day to the mulch pile. Empty, I push it up the hill behind my home and remember. The Gospel finds its root in the things that we unload and the things we carry.

Ordination and Installation – The Morganton Years

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As I wrote before, I was ordained and then installed as an Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Morganton, NC, on Sunday, July 19, 1992. Becoming ordained and installed are the last two items to check off on the Presbytery’s decently and in order document, entitled “So, You Think You’re Called by God, Huh? Well, Let’s See About That!” Obviously, that’s not the official name, but you get the picture.

I had never seen anyone being ordained and installed, so I never gave this service much thought. I just wanted to go to work. But there’s a document that must be answered and a service that needed to be put together. It would have been so much easier if I had been ordained at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Evansville, IN. I knew and loved the people there, but that wasn’t an option. So I called up strangers that met the categories of shape, color and size and invited them to spend what might have been a wonderful sabbath nap to be a part of my call into ministry. Preachers were to wear red stoles, which are symbols of the Holy Spirit, a Spirit that told them where to sit, when to stand, when to speak, and what to say. Other than that, it pretty much had free reign.

Free reign it had there on the slate floor. There the Spirit was felt in the heavy hands of mostly strangers, who became my colleagues, my teachers, my grace, my joy, my life.