While the UUA sets requirements for ministerial credentials, a process that grants “Fellowship” to potential ministers, only a UU congregation has the authority to declare a person a minister. mandi has met all of the requirements of the UUA for ministerial credentialing but she will not be considered a UU minister until she is ordained by a congregation–this is common for new ministers who are being called by their first church. The Board of Trustees has been in touch with mandi, and she would be honored if our church chose to ordain her.
An ordination is a once-in-a-lifetime event for a minister, and just as it is a special honor to be ordained, it is a special honor to choose to ordain a minister. A minister being ordained promises to give their unique gifts to our UU community, challenging our religion to fully live out our values of caring and justice. A congregation that chooses to ordain a minister is communicating to the wider UU community that this new minister will enrich our religion through their life of service. Ordaining a minister is an act of commitment and hope, for the new minister and for our greater UU community.
Ordination is easily confused with installation, which are related but distinct events. Installations are traditionally held whenever a congregation has a newly-settled minister, and they focus on the relationship between a minister and a congregation. When our congregation voted to call mandi huizenga as our next settled minister, we agreed to covenant with her as we embark on ministry together. We will recognize and celebrate this joint covenant, to support and challenge each other, at an installation service this coming fall.
Ordination, on the other hand, focuses on the relationship between a minister, a congregation, and the UU religion as a whole. While a minister may be installed several times at several churches during their lifetime, they will only be ordained once. It is common for new ministers who are being called by their first church to be both ordained and installed in a single service, and mandi would deeply appreciate holding both rituals with us.
You can read more about ordination and installation in the UUA’s Ordination and Installation Handbook