Thursday, November 15, 2018

Karen Kerrigan’s Ordination Homily by Karen Kerrigan ARCWP and Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP, Editor

Karen Kerrigan ARCWP 

Karen’s part of the homily 
    We have a lot left to do today, so I hope to keep this part of the homily as short as I am.  
    You might be wondering, why in the world did I gather all of us here, right across the street, from the site of the old Tiger Stadium?  What’s that all about?
  Well, for starters, I hope you might do some reminiscing, about old Tiger players like; Al Kaline and Lou Whitaker. And, if you would close your eyes for a moment, can you still hear echoes of Ernie Harwell announcing that the ball is “LONG GONE?”  Yes, go ahead later, during the reception and do some baseball reminiscing if you wish.  
  Well, even though the old Tiger Field may be gone, this field of dreams, that we are seated in, called St. Peter’s, is still standing. 
  And it is here, in this building, that I invited you to celebrate my ordination. I thank you for your prayer, support and just being here with me today.  For you are witnessing me, take a major milestone step, in my life, as I begin my new ministry of priesthood.  
  But, it is my hope, that as you witness and prayerfully engage with me, this call that I am responding to, that you will be; inspired, encouraged, graced and enlivened, to listen again, to that still small voice, which is springing forth Good News, in you!
  Just think about this for a moment; what is it that you desire, which is calling forth liberty in you? 
   Now imagine, in your mind’s eye, what actions, do you wish to take, that will help, cause you and others to have new sight and insight? 
  For a concrete example, I invite you to work with this idea.  There is a soup kitchen, in the basement of this church that services about 110 people, almost every day, including this morning.  Furthermore, there is a new project where, there are shower stalls and a laundry are being installed for the homeless to use, right here in this building. Think about that for a moment.  
  Now I ask you, to switch gears and consider this very stark contrast to what I just said.  For on the other corner of this very same intersection, you can see new construction of luxury condominiums that will start at $450 thousand dollars. Now, how can this be on the very same corner?
  So what is it that you and I can do with this information, that I just highlighted for you?  Can I, can you, can we do some actionable things about this or some similar situation?  How can we be about announcing a Jubilee year of God’s favor into situations such as those I have described?  
  These are lofty questions, I know. So, I’m giving you some time to think about this.  I would like to invite you to consider doing something later on, during the reception.  When you join in perhaps, a toast of congratulations to me, I will invite you to stand.  I will ask that you and I, and we together, will consider ourselves to be; bleacher creatures, to observations, like the ones, we find here at The Corner of Michigan and Trumbull, no more! Instead, let us consider what we can do about the signs of our times?  I challenge you, I challenge me, I challenge us, to make a commitment, to take action. And if we are willing to do so, others will see and hear, these scriptures that you heard today, being fulfilled by our words and actions.  Amen

Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP
Thank you, Karen, for sharing your reflections on the scripture readings with all of your active energy! 

I assure you the thoughts our ordaining bishop, Michele Birch-Conery, has gathered on her journey with Karen and her preparation for priesthood, are very much a part of the brief comments you will now hear.

I welcome all of you gathered in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church today.  We stand on the holy ground of the prophetic women who forged a new path for ordained women by responding to their call to ordination that was heard from within the Episcopal Church tradition.  On the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, July 29, 1974, eleven women were ordained by a supportive Episcopalian bishop, who was unlikely to be in conflict with their next Convention, when the issues about women’ ordination would come up again. 

The ordinations took place in Philadelphia and the years leading up to it as well as the aftermath, tell a story that quite parallels our own Roman Catholic Women Priest journey.  We, too, have gone ahead with ordination in prophetic obedience to the Spirit, breaking an unjust canon law.  At the time of the Episcopal women’s ceremony, a moment came where it was customary to voice reasons why they should not be ordained.  In reply, the ordaining bishop simply responded to the objections by stating:

“We are acting in obedience to God, not men.  The time is now!”
We come together today to celebrate the sacrament of Holy Orders with Karen Kerrigan who will stand before you in loving surrender to Spirit-Sophia who has called her forth to be ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic tradition with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. 

In our Gospel reading this afternoon Jesus quotes Isaiah the prophet, putting words into the mouth of God.  However, I would like to share words from Isaiah that were not mentioned today. 

Karen: “You will be a garland of beauty in Yahweh ‘s hands, a solemn crown worn by your God.  Never again will you be called Forsaken.  Never again will your land be called Desolate, but you will be called My Delight, one with me in an everlasting covenant… Yes, I have made this covenant with you as I have always done with my prophets…  Pass through, pass through the gates!  Prepare the way for the people!  Repair! Repair the roads before you!”

Look around, and take in the fruits of the Spirit.  Look around and notice the women with us today who have been called by God to serve as ordained priests within this movement.  Our prayer is that our institutional church will soon awaken to embrace these women who are keeping the vision of justice and equality in an inclusive church alive and well by repairing the roads to equality, justice, and inclusivity within our church.  We are laboring each day to make inroads with our prophetic voices of change.

We celebrate this afternoon knowing that the blessing of the Holy One is upon us, for we have been anointed and share in Jesus’ life and ministry as priest, prophet and royal witness to truth, equality and justice in our church and in our world. 

In the words of our ordaining bishop, Michele Birch-Conery:

“Could it be that with us acting intentionally together from all the corners of our lives, from the terrain we walk, from the ground we stand on, from the complexities of our knowing and unknowing, that in acting in solidarity and for the good of all, the world is about to turn?  I know that in Karen’s calling to be a justice worker, shaped from her personal talents and giftedness evolved throughout her life until this moment, that such a turning is what she--and all of us--hope for.”   
In making that turn, that change in direction, we walk through that open gate and repair and expand the path before us. Recalling once again the words spoken in 1974 by that ordaining Episcopalian bishop, “we act in obedience to God” and, “THE TIME IS NOW! “
And so, we now begin….

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