This morning, 5/12/13, during our 10:30 a.m. worship, Pastor Julie Goranson, our Licensed Lay Pastor was officially “adopted” as a “Daughter of Grace!” It was a fun and festive day. Pastor Julie’s picture was placed on the wall where Grace’s pastors are displayed and a special reception was held. In addition, 55 trees were planted in Julie’s honor through Mission 4/1 Earth! All in all, a great day!
The “Adoption Liturgy” written for this occasion, recounts Julie’s journey and her presence at Grace UCC, Wausau. It is here for your reading. Pictures will follow this next week.
Julie “Adoption” Liturgy
Julie, when you came to Grace United Church of Christ, we were strangers. After your first visit with us you decided that we were worth another chance and that is when the dance began.
It started out slowly and the steps were cautious. We offered hospitality and you responded with your continued presence. Yet we knew little about you and certainly not the path you were following. Not at first. But slowly you told your story and step by step people drew you out, proved to you that this was a safe place and invited you to come and dance a little closer.
We heard your story, we learned about your call to ministry and your studies at UTS and we realized that somehow in a most Holy Coincidence the mysterious Spirit of God had led you to our door and that Grace would now become a part of your journey. The dance continued to spin its pattern.
With your willingness and the openness of this congregation, we covenanted together, received the blessing of the wider church as you were licensed, and we prepared for your leadership during Rev. Wayne’s Sabbatical. Now the dance was moving along at an exciting pace and new steps were created as both you and the church grew into your own leadership and ministry.
Today the dance takes yet another turn as you look to the next year of Clinical Pastoral Education and finishing seminary. Although you came to Grace later in your journey, this congregation has rejoiced in your presence and has taken you into its heart. Some people become sons and daughters through birth. Others become sons and daughters by love. All of us were adopted by God in our baptism. God claimed us as God’s own and God clings tenaciously to God’s own. Julie, God has claimed you as God’s own child. In the same way, we at Grace claim you as one of our beloved children.
Julie, today we celebrate and re-affirm your adoption as a daughter of Grace United Church of Christ. We want you to know that as you move into the next part of discerning your call to ministry that we are your family of faith, your full partners on this journey. You do not travel alone.
Julie, do you accept and celebrate that you have been adopted by Grace church and that you are loved here?
If so, answer, “I celebrate your love and my adoption as a Daughter of Grace.”
Do you promise that you will share worship and ministry with us as you can, and in your absence pray for Grace church, keeping in touch with the congregation so that they can share your journey?
If so, answer, “I promise that I will keep Grace church in my prayers, and I will welcome you as partners in my journey to ordained ministry.”
Congregation of Grace United Church of Christ, do you acknowledge and celebrate the adoption of Julie as a “daughter of Grace,” as she discerns her call to ministry, and do you accept the love that Julie has for Grace church?
If so, answer, “We accept Julie’s love and celebrate her adoption as a daughter of Grace!”
Do you promise that you will pray for Julie, stay in touch with her and continue to support her in every possible way?
If so, answer, “We promise to pray for Julie and to support her in any way we can.”
Let us pray.
God of the prophets and martyrs in every age and land, we thank you for those in our generation who hear and answer your call to prepare for the ordained ministry of your church. Grant your Holy Spirit to Julie that she may grow in faith, be filled with courage, and increase in love. Confirm in her the call to ministry you intend, that she may find in service to you the liberty that comes to those who give themselves for others; through Jesus Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve, and who served you even to death for our redemption and adoption as Your children.