Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Spirit Moved Me: and Look What Happened!

Well, I declared 2007 my year of completion. I have been true to my word so far. I moved to Chicago, January, 2007 so that I could finish seminary. That will happen the end of the year. Meanwhile, I have finished my dissertation and received my doctorate. I went before the Ministerial Fellowship Committee and was fellowshipped September 28. Last week, on October 21 I was ordained at my home congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte. It was a most memorable and moving ceremony. I will hold it in my heart and memory all the days of my life. The picture above was taken while I was delivering the benediction. After the ordination we went off to the social hall for the reception.

My family members present included my mom, all my children and daughter in law, two of my sisters (Betty and Brenda and her husband, Ira). Brenda and Ira gave me a beautiful pen engraved with the words, "ministers pen" in an equally beautiful wooden box with thes engraved words, "Answering the Call...God's Chosen Minister - It was he who gave some to be. . . evangelists, pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people. . . Ephesians 4:11."

Personal friends from church and other personal friends from outside the church came. A friend,Kathryn Liss that I had not seen in years drove from Asheville to be present. She gave me a beautiful framed picture of a sister who is joyfully poised to take flight with her arms outstretched and her feet taking flight. The picture is titled, Surrender All! One of the songs that I had requested from the soloist, Jennifer McCloud, was R. Kelly's, I Believe I Can Fly! The Choir sang, Wade in the Water with Jennifer's beautiful voice carrying a solo. They concluded with Siyahamba, a South African Freedom song in honor of my plans to begin my ministerial career in South Africa.

Evangelist, Betty Jean Holmes, my oldest sister, drove from Atlanta, as did my sister, brother in law and mother. My mother brought greetings from the family. She has been so active in her home church over the years that she had developed into a poised and confident speaker and I was so proud of her.

I was so delighted to see friends that I had not seen since I left Charlotte - Eva and Jan were present and gave me a beautiful prayer bowl. Amad was kind enough to share a reading in the service and he and his fiancee asked me during the reception if I would perform their marriage in May, 2009. I would be honored! Osei was present and it was good to see him. Jeanine came out to share my day and gave me a beautiful set of earrings.

I am grateful to Grace Mills, board member at the Church of Light of Religious Science, Dave Smith, President of the Board of Trustees of Mecklenburg Ministries and Annette Marquis, District Executive, TJ District for their presence and greetings that they delivered on behalf of their constituencies.

Special thanks to others that participated in the ordination. I have already acknowledged Ahmad Daniels beautiful recitation of the poem, In the Midst of a World. Leon Spencer, came all the way from Statesboro,GA to deliver his powerfully insightful sermon.

Rev. Leslie Takahashi-Morris, co-minister at Thomas Jefferso Unitarian Church in Charlottesville, VA carried out the ritual of the "laying on of hands" and gave such a powerful history lesson, while at the same time demonstrating while it is still a treasured ritual. I will carry the reassuring touch of her hand on my head as I move into the next phase of my life and my ministry.

Rev. Amy Brooks, affiliated Community Minister at the Church. You have been a guiding presence in my ministerial formation and it was apropo that you be present and to join me in this significant rite of passage in delivering the ordination prayer. Thank you for your poignant and powerful words!

Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, president of Meadville Lombard Theological School. You were my angel that agreed to show up at the last minute! Thank you for your presence and for saying yes to my request and bringing your usual wit and provocative words.

Rev. Jay Leach, my colleague and my pastor! We struggled and made it through to the other side of this beautiful ceremony. The outcome was worth every minute of struggle and time invested. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for the apology. Thank you for things known and unknown.

Thank you Cindy for your role in bringing things together with the super reception! I loved that you got the young people involved!

Lois, thank you for clearing your calendar for my ordination. I will make you proud!

Finally, while everyone worked really really hard, I must thank my daughters for their behind the scene efforts. A big thank you to Kaleema for your help with the ordination and particularly, Sankofa. For those that don't know, Kaleema made the invitations, did the mailing and came up with the idea for "planting" the hyacinth bulbs and packaging them. Her limited funds were the only reason that more were not available. And while I am thanking her I want to let you know that half the credit for my doctorate goes to you for the hours and hours you spent formatting the damn thing.

Before we left the hotel, I invited my family to join together in prayer as I acknowledged what the day meant for me and for my family. I acknowledged the prayers that have gotten me through as well as honoring my covenant with Spirit. I believe we covenant with Spirit before we are born to sign on for this life and the ministy/work we intend to do. My ordination is simply a milestone along that journey and a commitment to that covenant.

For anyone that I left out I do apologize! I love you all! You have helped me open my heart a bit wider as I step out in the world to do the work of healing self and humanity!
Blessed Be! Reverend Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman
I am truly blessed!
warmest regards, Rev. Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman
ps I will send pictures as soon as they are available!