At last night’s Service of Living Tradition, ministers, religious educators, and musicians were recognized for achieving notable credentials. In our area: from First UU Church in San Antonio, the Rev. Bret Lortie received Final Fellowship (like getting tenure). From the UU Congregation of San Marcos, Brian Ferguson received Preliminary Fellowship (having jumped through all the hoops required of new ministers. Note: Brian will be ordained Nov. 6!)
Nice innovation: Early in the service we whooped and hollered for the honorees as their names were read, a picture was put on the screens, and they rose from among the people to their places on stage. Then it became more like a worship service with wonderful music and a terrific sermon by Michael Schuler. Did you know “djembe” (drum in West Africa) means “gathering in peace”? Djembes are frequently used for ceremonial occasions to honor people. They were beautifully used last night!
The service also commemorates ministers who have died in the past year. This year I had known three of them: Mary Harrington, Charles Howe, and Brandoch “Brandy” Lovely. Some of the other nine I knew only by reputation or through their writings.
I remember my own events: Preliminary Fellowship in 1993 (Ft. Worth), Final Fellowship in 1997 (Phoenix). The next time I walk the stage, the universe willing, should be for my retirement some 10-15 years from now. But do ministers ever really retire? There is so much ministry needed in the world that even if we receive no paycheck, we have been ordained to serve. It is our calling from that willing universe.
Congrats to all the ministers, educators, and musicians honored last night (about 135 of them). Godspeed, Mary, Charles, and Brandy.