Ten years ago on April 22nd I was ordained a priest right here at Saint Alban’s Church by our bishop, the Most Rev’d Walter H. Grundorf, D.D. The church was packed with laity and clergy, friends, and family, all celebrating the momentous occasion. I remember fighting back tears (just as I had to do at my ordination to the diaconate six months earlier) when we began to sing Down Ampney (“Come Down, O Love Divine”). The Rev’d Canon Chandler Holder Jones, SSC (now “Bishop” Jones!) preached, and the Rev’d Raymond Unterburger (now “Rev’d Canon” Unterburger!) presented me for ordination. The bishop’s chaplain was the Rev’d Canon Rob Tregenza, Ph.D.
The story of how I was ordained, however, goes back a lot further than ten years. In high school (a Christian school) it was suggested to me by a few teachers that I might have a vocation to full time Christian ministry. When I went to college (a Christian college) I majored in history with the goal of teaching at a Christian school. I later decided that I wanted to go into pastoral ministry, as that would be a more direct way of “helping” people. (I now know that one should not seek ordination in order to “help” people. But that is a different article!)
While in college I became increasingly frustrated that even though I was paying for most of college I didn’t have the time in my schedule to take an art or music class. Thankfully, I learned from someone that the type of undergrad degree one got had no bearing on being accepted into a seminary. So I switched my major to art (painting) and also began taking a number of music classes (classical guitar) still with goal of attending seminary and becoming a pastor. While in college I participated in off campus ministries such as nursing home visitation and evangelism. At home during the summers I was involved with my local church in various ways. Little by little, though, as I studied art, I lost interest in becoming a pastor. My goal now became to “move to New York City, become an artist, and live a Bohemian lifestyle. CONTINUE READING