Lessons from Five Years of Ordained Ministry

Photo Credit: Shachmut Photography, my ordination at Old South Church in Boston, MA

Today marks my fifth anniversary of ordination to ministry. I have been called to ministry for over half of my life. I can hardly remember a life in which this thing that has pulled me, and shaped my heart for so long did not have a grip on me. While I have served the church for much longer than five years, I have been reflecting on what these five years of ordination in particular have meant to me. They have been harder, more humbling, more beautiful, more tender, more holy, and more painful than I ever could have imagined. They have been everything and nothing like I thought they would be all at once. In it all though, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

In that spirit, here’s a little bit of what five years of Rev. in front of my name has taught me. Some of these will feel specific to ministry, but some of them are not. May they speak to you if you need them, wherever you are.

  1. My spouse taught me a while ago that the words “integration” and “integrity” come from the same latin root meaning whole. It is perhaps the deepest work of our life to know who we are, and whose we are (and not to forget it). Unabashedly seek your own wholeness, and help others find theirs.

Here’s to five years of ordained ministry. If I’ve served alongside you, or you’ve invited me to walk with you, thank you. I am especially grateful for the times others have challenged or provoked me in the name of the Gospel. For the times I have misstepped, or not lived fully into my ordination promises, forgive me. For the work that is yet to come, please pray for me as I pray for you. Whatever the call is on your life, I am sure that the world is best served by following the thing that lights your heart on fire.

The Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath (she/her/hers) is a preacher, teacher, activist, writer, holy mischief maker, and proud queer femme.

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