For many of us, the beginning of a new year is a time of expectation. There is much to look forward to in 2016. One of the events that I am happily anticipating in the coming year is my installation as your settled minister. This will happen on the afternoon of Saturday, May 21, 2016. Please mark your calendars. It is sure to be a wonderful afternoon.
While you might think installation is something that happens to a refrigerator, washing machine, or other large appliance, it is also a special worship service in Unitarian Universalism. It is a service that celebrates a congregation calling a settled minister. There are a number of elements to this kind of service, some of which only happen at an ordination or installation service. One important part of the service is a sermon given by another minister, usually a friend or mentor of the minister being installed. I have asked The Reverend Megan Lloyd Joiner-Clark to preach my installation sermon. She is a seminary classmate, a dear friend, and the minister at the Unitarian Society of New Haven in Connecticut. She also has a special connection to People’s Church. Her great-great-great uncle Jenkin Lloyd Jones was a Unitarian minister who served most of his career in the Upper Midwest. He preached the ordination and installation of Caroline Bartlett Crane 125 years ago. Rev. Megan will help us celebrate the proud history of People’s Church and look forward to who we might become together in the years to come.
Other important elements of the service include special words led by the presidents of the congregation to formally install the minister, an exchange of gifts (a congregation typically gets a minister a stole; ministers’ gifts vary), and special challenges (called “charges”) issued to both the congregation and the minister. There is also wonderful music, readings, and other elements that are more familiar. I have started inviting clergy colleagues to attend this service—friends and mentors, the UU ministers in Michigan and surrounding states, and clergy of many denominations serving here in Kalamazoo. I think we will have a full house!
While I will be working with the Sunday Services Committee, Music Committee, and our wonderful musicians to plan the service itself, I am looking for a few more people to help with other elements of the event—including possibly arranging home hospitality for out-of-town guests and organizing the reception. If you are interested in this, please let me know.
Wishing you a 2016 full of joy, wisdom, and beauty,