When Rev. Kathy Hulin was ordained to the priesthood of The Episcopal Church on October 7th at All Saints’, it was the culmination of a journey that was sparked during a long weekend in New York City with her husband, Charles, almost four years ago. And with that first step, she hasn’t looked back.
“Charles and I were worshiping at St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue and the Lord really spoke to me as the communion table was being prepared,” she says. “It was as if God posted a sign that said, ’You are going to be doing that one day.’ It was so clear to me that He wanted me to be ordained to the ministry of The Episcopal Church.”
At the time she didn’t know if that meant diaconal ministry or the priesthood. She shared with Charles her experience as they walked out of the church that Sunday, and both were caught off guard by the calling, but willing to be obedient to God’s leading.
When she returned home to Lakeland, Rev. Kathy shared her experience with Fr. Al and Fr. Reid. They told her to be patient during her journey and let things play out as God intends. She kept that advice in mind as she began the years-long discernment process toward ordination. The first step for all candidates is to attend a meeting of the Conference on Ministry. For Rev. Kathy, this took place in August of 2015. This meeting is held annually and marks the beginning of the process for those aspiring to ordination. Break-out sessions are held for candidates for the priesthood, for diaconal ministry and for lay ministry. It was at this meeting that she felt a specific call to the priesthood and received what she affectionately calls “the packet” which outlined the next steps of her journey. Among them were:
- Receiving a letter of recommendation from the Rector and Vestry to begin the process;
- Composing an essay about her core beliefs;
- Composing an essay about what it means to be a priest;
- Passing medical and psychological evaluations;
- Seven meetings with a Parish Discernment Committee established by the Rector in coordination with a representative from the Commission on Ministry;
- Approval from the Parish Discernment Committee to continue in the process which is sent to the Vestry and Bishop;
- Upon invitation from the Bishop, attending the BACAM (Bishop’s Advisory Committee for Aspirants) Conference to be interviewed and evaluated by clergy and lay persons of the Commission on Ministry;
- Academic training and completing all requirements as specified by the Canons of The Episcopal Church which includes Anglican studies;
- Acquiring a spiritual director;
- Securing a letter of support from the Rector and Vestry in support of her admission to candidacy;
- Attending trainings for such issues as Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Sexual Exploitation and Harassment Prevention, and anti-racism;
- Interviewed with the Standing Committee of the Commission on Ministry; and
- Successfully completing the General Ordination Exam.
Rev. Kathy’s diaconal ordination took place in January of this year. The Church then requires a wait of at least six months for ordination to the priesthood. During this period she continued to serve at All Saints’, wrote Ember letters to Bishop Brewer to report on her spiritual journey, and waited to hear from the Standing Committee regarding approval or disapproval of her candidacy for the priesthood. On July 19, 2018 Rev. Kathy received a letter from Bishop Brewer stating his consent and unanimous approval from the Standing Committee for her ordination to the priesthood.
Now ordained, she will continue to serve All Saints’ as she is currently doing, as well as adding sacramental duties. With her enhanced role comes a wealth of new opportunities. “I feel like a new journey is just beginning, and to take the journey with this parish is very special,” she says. “I believe I am right where God wants me to be.”
Read more about Rev. Kathy's ordination service at http://www.theledger.com/news/20181007/hulin-first-female-ordained-priest-of-all-saints-episcopal.