On June 19, 1988, I was ordained into the Christian Ministry of the United Church of Christ at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Carmel, Indiana. The Rev. Dr. Rueben Sheares shared the message and reminded me to rekindle the gifts of God that are within me, my dad, the Rev. Dr. Ralph Quellhorst, prayed the ordination prayer. Friends and family gathered and laid their hands upon me. I can still feel the weight of the Spirit. Since that is 30 years ago, I have been doing some discerning, praying, and thinking about the last 30 years. Thinking about the people in the congregations that I have pastored, wondering about what God was thinking in all those years, praying for growth for myself as well as the people of God, remembering all the wider church ministry I have done, how many meetings, and miles, different colleagues that have supported me and ones that were harder to get along with. Life has changed lots in those years.
When I was ordained into the ministry of the United Church of Christ, I had graduated from Eden Seminary, I wrote a paper about my theology, I met with the church and ministry committee of my association, and then I stood in front of an ecclesiastical council ( every church in my association and every pastor in my association) were invited to ask me any question that they deemed important to them for ordained ministry, I was voted on to see if I had defended my theology and was it in compliance with the UCC before I could be ordained. It also required a call to a local church. This was all following my education from my undergraduate university and my seminary, so at least 7 years of higher education. I was prepared, or so I thought. I never realized what I didn’t know until it was placed before me. You see I was going to change the world.
30 years later, as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, I am called to live by and follow the Ordained Ministers Code and live the MARKS OF FAITHFUL AND EFFECTIVE AUTHORIZED MINISTERS IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST. The Marks of Ministry have been added so that there is a way to help all have a better understanding of what is needed to be an ordained minister in the UCC, and that we have a set or practices to work with. The Marks of Ministry come in the following areas…
EXHIBITING A SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION AND ONGOING SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
NURTURING UCC IDENTITY
BUILDING TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS
ENGAGING SACRED STORIES AND TRADITIONS
CARING FOR ALL CREATION
PARTICIPATING IN THEOLOGICAL PRAXIS
WORKING TOGETHER FOR JUSTICE AND MERCY
STRENGTHENING INTER- AND INTRA- PERSONAL ASSETS
I have been evaluating myself and praying over all these Marks of Faithful and effective ministry, to see what and where I need to work on, or what I might have forgotten or not grown in. After 30 years, I think this is a good thing. May we all work together for God’s kindom, family of God.