Members of the Community Congregational Church, the Southeastern Association, the Rocky Mountain Conference of the UCC (RMUCC), visiting pastors, members of the Bosley-Mitchell family, and esteemed members of the Manitou Springs community will all be in attendance at Gaye’s installation as our full-time, settled minister. The Rev. Erin Gilmore, RMUCC Associate Conference Minister, will perform the ceremony and Rev. Clare Twomey, Vista Grande UCC, will be giving the reflection.
Some of you have asked, “what’s this ‘Installation’ thing about? Why are we doing this?” Great questions, given that this church has not had one in over a generation!
The United Church of Christ is a “covenant” of churches. This means that there are no legal ties to our wider church, but there are stronger ties than that… ties of theological perspective, ties of identity, ties of approach to ministry, ties of recognition that standing alone we have little affect beyond our own neighborhoods and towns but together we can change the world!
And so, our wider church (our sister churches near and far) participate in our process to find a new settled pastor in many ways. They follow students in care through their entire journey toward ordination. They examine ministerial candidates to ensure that they meet the rigorous standards of our churches. They review ordained ministers and develop them professionally through ongoing training. They help keep our churches in connection with each other, so that we can understand what healthy practices look like (particularly in a search for a new pastor). They shepherd us through those rough times and are available whenever we need advice or help. They also provide a huge database of qualified potential pastors from whom we might choose.
And so, it makes sense that even as we, as a local church, might have celebrated the end of our search on the Candidating Sunday when we voted, or maybe the first Sunday of our new pastor’s tenure; our wider church, represented by our Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Southeastern Association of the RMC UCC, also want the closure of a ritual that celebrates this new relationship between congregation and pastor!!
So, this Sunday, October 8th @ 3:00 p.m., representative clergy and board members of our Association, as well as our Associate Conference Minister will be here to do just that. We also, traditionally, invite the local dignitaries of the community (Mayor, Police/Fire Chiefs, State Representatives, School Principals, and other community leaders to celebrate with us. They too, have a stake in what kind of pastor we call. They too, would like to celebrate with us on this occasion.
So come, maybe for the first time ever, and see how we do this. It is great fun, very touching, sacred, and makes “official” this covenant we share between a church and its pastor, between local churches in an Association, between Associations in a Conference, between a church and its community!