I am a relatively new Episcopalian. I became a member of All Saints’ just last year after spending most of my life as a Lutheran. There are many similarities between the two worship services, but the history and the pageantry and the rich symbolism of the Anglican tradition are things I hadn’t experienced before, and I was totally moved the first time I attended a service here.
That feeling came back to me tenfold as I attended the ordination service for Rev. Kathy Hulin on Oct. 7th. I knew it was a special day for our church, but I didn’t know how special. I didn’t know it was only the second ordination in our congregation’s history. Nor did it occur to me just how significant it was to ordain our first woman priest. But as the service unfolded, I understood.
The majestic processional - including all three of All Saints’ choirs, visiting priests from the Diocese and, of course, Bishop Gregory Brewer - took almost five full verses of the entrance hymn “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus” to reach the sanctuary. The pageantry was wonderful, but what I remember most was Rev. Kathy’s radiant smile as she preceded down the aisle. She was glowing. If there were nerves (and I’m sure there must have been) it didn’t show. She looked radiant, confident and more than ready to take on the calling God has given to her.
I was moved by Bishop Brewer’s very personal charge to Rev. Kathy in his homily and was humbled by how much of a blessing and a responsibility it is to go out and “be like Jesus”. After the laying of the hands from Fr. Reid, Fr. Buck, Fr. Al and the visiting priests at the service, Rev. Kathy received her vestments and Bible from Bishop Brewer, and he turned to us and said, “Greet your new priest.” I joined the congregation in a heartfelt ovation.
In the time I have been a member of All Saints’, I have been moved over and over again by the music at church - when we sing one of my favorite hymns, or a member of the choir sings an especially beautiful solo - and I was especially moved by the music throughout the ordination service. The preservice meditations, offered by guest vocalists as well as our own church members, were inspiring. Later in the service, when the church’s three choirs combined to sing “Christ, Be Our Light,” followed by an ordination anthem written by Rev. Kathy’s husband, Dr. Charles Hulin, it was magical. I couldn’t keep my eyes from tearing up.
One of the most personal aspects of the morning for me was the blessing Rev. Kathy gave me - and a host of others - at the communion rail following the service. No matter how long the line, she prayed for everyone who waited. This is a tradition that was new to me - receiving a blessing from the new priest after the ordination service. What a gift it was to carry that blessing home with me.
As the service was ending, and the Bishop asked our new priest to give the final blessing to the people, I felt proud and excited for her, and also for our church and the many opportunities her new ministry will bring. I am very grateful to have been a part of it all.
Congratulations and God bless you, Rev. Kathy!