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The Holy Spirit’s role in ordination

Plenty of churches hold ordination services during the weeks before summer

by Paul J. Huh | Presbyterian News Service

Mija Suh, newly ordained ruling elder of the Connecticut Korean Presbyterian Church, worked as anesthesiology nurse for 35 years at Yale University Hospital and gave many volunteer hours serving seniors and people experiencing homelessness. Here she is answering constitutional questions asked by Rev. Iktae Kim. (Photo by Paul Huh)

LOUISVILLE — On many Pentecost Sundays, which can be a movable feast like Easter Sunday, the life of a congregation sometimes intersects with the long weekend of Memorial Day holiday, the unofficial beginning of the summer season. As well as many graduations taking place around this time, a growing number of churches now hold services for ordination and installation before the summer begins.

“The call to ordered ministry in the Church is the act of the triune God. This call is evidenced by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the individual conscience, the approval of a community of God’s people, and the concurring judgment of a council of the Church” (Book of Order, G-2.0103).

For the Korean churches, ordination marks very significant step in the individual’s life as well as the life of the congregation. The Connecticut Korean Presbyterian Church in New Haven recently had a service of ordination during Sunday worship.

The church’s pastor, Rev. Iktae Kim, said he’s joyful to now have equal number of women and men representation for the church leadership following the ordination of three women. He preached a sermon from Acts 16:6-15 saying, “To be the servants of prayer, I shared my three expectations from the candidates during the training time: 1. Read the entire Bible; 2. Prepare to testify your faith; 3. Open your own home like Lydia did in Acts 16:15.”

Hester Lee, a newly ordained and installed deacon, said she was baptized during her college years. During the testimonial time in the worship service, she said, “I serve now because Christ saved me. Because of God’s love, I live the life of giving thanks.”

Ralph Jones, a ruling elder from the Presbytery of Southern New England, said the most striking element he experienced from the ordination service was plaques and gifts being presented to the candidates.

From left, Ruling Elder Mija Suh and Deacons Hester Lee and Kiha Song received plaques from the Rev. Iktae Kim and flowers from the congregation to celebrate their ordination. (Photo by Paul Huh)

The new leaders were showered with flowers, custom-made plaques and gifts from the church, family, and friends. Jones said it was like a graduation ceremony.

The Book of Order states, “Ordered ministries are gifts to the church to order its life so that the ministry of the whole people of God may flourish. The existence of these ordered ministries in no way diminishes the importance of the commitment of all members to the total ministry of the church.” (G-2.0102).

As with baptism, ordination is not about the completion of one’s ministry. Trusting the work of the Holy Spirit, it is the beginning of ordered ministry just like what commencement means for the high school or college graduate — the beginning of something. In this case, ordination is the beginning of the work of Holy Spirit.

The Rev. Dr. Paul Junggap Huh is a Korean translator in the Administrative Services Group, part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) A Corporation. Being a musician and having specialized in Liturgical Studies, he serves Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church, Louisville, Ky., as a parish associate.  

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