In any case, we use the word because it has been passed down to us through the church - perhaps originally intended to mean many things, it now brings to mind for us the sort of permanent nature of the Rector. Not permanent in terms of forever - but that our ministry together is intended to be a longer-term commitment. As a priest, I am intended to live out much of my ministry in and around these walls - tending especially to this community and this congregation. The word "installation", here, tries to establish the fact that this is not something I'm going to just do for a few months before I move on - which would be more the style of the itinerant preacher - or missionary - who tends to take their ministry on the road.
In years past, this service has been very much focused on the Rector. And in some ways, some of the service will still be focused on me. But we have reformed our thinking in the church on this particular event - and for me, it's really about the formal coming together of the parish and the priest. Both parish and priest bring with them hopes and dreams, a sense of identity, and a wide array of gifts. So our service on Saturday will be called the "Celebration of the Renewal of Ministry and the Installation of..." well, me.
In the church, we like formal rituals to mark new beginnings like this. It offers us a chance to reflect on our gifts, to think about the commitments we're making, to hear God call us beloved, and finally so that we can all be bound up together in the celebration of the Eucharist. In this particular case, we will really spend time asking for God's blessing on the years ahead that we will share together - and on the many different kinds of projects and ministries we will share. While it will be the day when I am formally installed, it is also a day when many symbols of the parish's life, history, and ministry are incorporated in our work to remind you of who you are - of where you have been - and inspire you to dream with me about who God is calling us to be and to serve together.
And - we have invited many folks from around Meriden, all over Connecticut, and all over the church to join us. It will be a great day - with what sounds like a lovely reception planned for afterward by our fabulous Hospitality Committee.
The service starts at 11:00am on Saturday morning the 27th of September, 2014. Bishop Douglas will preside, the Rev. Erika Takacs will preach - and we will ask for God's blessing on this next part of the life of St. Andrew's parish. There is a spot for you, here -- I hope you'll plan to be here.