Unitarian Universalism

Charge to the Minister – for the Ordination of Karen G. Johnston by Rev. Elea Kemler

Sunday, June 5, 2016

From Rev. Elea Kemler

  Charge to the Minister I

Karen, I charge you to hold you to some of the most beautiful ways you are a minister. Hold onto your joy. Hold onto your playful, bubble-blowing, creative self, the part of you that is always finding things to do with rocks and water and fire, the part of you that leads to messes in the sanctuary – cardboard props and dancing and making things and burning other things and helping people to feel alive, helping people to come alive in our places of worship.

Hold onto your courage, which is one of things I have come to love the most in you. I call you fearless but that is not completely right because I know you are sometimes afraid. But I have never seen you let fear stop you from doing what you believe you must or speaking your truth with clarity and love. You are a brave person, a brave minister, willing to walk into troubled waters in order to help heal something or just to keep someone company out there. I charge you to keep moving toward trouble, toward the unspoken words that need to be said. Keep being one of those who moves toward the broken things, who helps to set the brokenness so that it might begin to heal. I also charge you to take care in these moments. Because it is difficult to be the one who names broken things, to be the one who keeps moving toward the pain when everyone else is running in the opposite direction. You already know that sometimes you will get hurt, that the cost to yourself can be high. But your courage is beautiful. And rare. And the world has such great need of it.

turtle gifts
turtle gifts

Karen, I charge you to Go Slowly. Sometimes. You will maybe not like this part so much but I ask you to find your inner turtle, to let thing come in their own time, which will perhaps be a tiny bit slower than you will find ideal. There are parts of ministry you cannot make happen by working harder or doing more. You are so very talented and energetic and dedicated and capable and you and the congregations you lead will do good and meaningful ministry. I am quite sure of this. And along with your passion and energy and skill, you will need patience. Because most of us move slower than you and we find change harder.

You will inspire the people you serve and you will help them to be braver and do bigger things than they believed they could but sometimes you will have to go slowly, so that the rest of us can catch up.

In closing, I quote your own lovely words back to you – words from the blessing you wrote for the pastoral visitors at First Parish, as we prepared them to keep members of the community company during my recent sabbatical. This is how you charged them and also blessed them:

We bring ourselves to those who have lost things.

We offer our deep company to those whose future has seemed to dissolve,

and ever so tenderly, ever so gently, we hold the possibility of hope and resilience.

We bring our presence to dear ones living in a desolate landscape,

that our compassion and kindness might sustain them.

That our compassion and kindness might sustain us.

That our compassion and kindness might sustain this beautiful, aching world.

 This is also how I charge you and bless, you dear one.
May your compassion and kindness sustain you as you minister to this beautiful, aching world.
May this calling bring you great joy for many years to come.

Charge to the Minister II

One thought on “Charge to the Minister – for the Ordination of Karen G. Johnston by Rev. Elea Kemler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.