The Ordination of Jess Cook

Thank you to Dan Currier for the beautiful images!

In the way it can happen on big days in one’s life, much of my ordination service is kind of a blur. I remember the day for sure, but it feels in some ways like a dream – something I never thought I’d experience. In the days since, I’ve had many people share their reflections on the events of the day and their reflections have shown me that it’s not so much that it was a dream for me, but that it was too big a day to be confined to my stories alone. While ordination is about a specific person being ordained to a specific position, it is a communal experience. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the decade since I formally began the process of ordination, it’s that ministry happens in community or it doesn’t happen at all. It was a beautiful day.

When I went before my church’s Session a decade ago to formally begin the process, I did so with the realization that claiming both my call and my identity could prevent ordination from becoming a reality. Like so many others, the reality of being ordained into my call to serve the church as a Minister ofThe Word and Sacrament is one that’s been created – a dream made manifest with the love and work of a community despite a denomination that, for many years, actively denied.

So many of my LGBTQIA+ elders were forced to remain in the closet or leave the denomination in order to live into their call. And now, with ordination a possibility, so many young people have the opportunity to see folks who share their identity leading worship. It’s a beautiful dream turned reality, and a glimpse of a kindom of which we are so honored to be a part.