Ordination to the pastoral office is a rite by which various churches:
– recognize and confirm that an individual has been called by God to ministry,
– acknowledges that the individual has gone through a period of discernment and training related to this call
– authorizes that individual to take on the office of ministry.
The act of ‘calling out’ or ‘setting apart’ for ministry or spiritual leadership is a practice as old as history itself. Most every religious or faith tradition has been and is in some way involved in such a practice. For the sake of authorization and church order, and not for reason of ‘powers’ or ‘ability’, individuals in most churches must be ordained in order to preside at the sacraments or ordinances of the church such as Baptism or Communion, and to be installed or called as a pastor of a congregation or parish.
Some traditions have additional offices or orders of ministry to which persons can be ordained, elevated or consecrated, such as Deacon, Pastor, Elder, or Bishop, and others simply have an informal tier of those who are in ministry.
In a multi-denominational, autonomous setting such as LOCC, ordination may occur in a plethora of ways and for a variety of purposes, however, this does not preclude an identifiable standard to which the process and persons are held.
The procedure of ordination, within our tradition is open to all, both lay and clergy. All are welcome to participate or be present to watch and listen as the one to be ordained engages in conversation with church leadership and clergy at an Ordination Council. The public is then invited to attend a Service of Ordination celebrating the gifts, the call, the preparation and the welcoming of the ‘ordinand’ into the professional and spiritual role of clergy. The very powerful and symbolic act of ‘laying on of hands’ is an experience both lay and clergy long remember and cherish.