Categories: Wednesday ripples 1 Comment

A Noticeable Shift

On May 31st, I drove on my own from Horseshoe Bay to Penticton, BC. As always, the first part of this journey consists of traffic, bridges, congestion, noise and the feeling that the city is grinding away and people are simply doing what they need to do in order to move from A to B. Yet, after a while, the highway begins to open up and the beauty of the wide open spaces, the massive hills and valleys, the sky and the “I can see forever” vistas become the foreground and the background for the remainder of the journey. I drove the highway on a clear day and the beauty of my surroundings held me as I continued on my pilgrimage. A dear congregant had gifted me with a recording of John O’ Donahue’s “Bless the Space Between us” and I listened to an hour of blessings as I drove through the hills and valleys.

An hour of blessings was just the beginning. On Sunday, June 3, at the B.C. Conference of the United Church, I was ordained into the United Church of Canada. I can only say that once. It is in the unique category of statements I have made in my life that I can only say once. Other examples are, “I married Andrew today. “I gave birth to Allison today.” “Mum died today.”

After the laying on of hands at the Celebration of Ministry, I rose from the kneeler and was pronounced an Ordained Minister in the United Church of Canada. And yes, to answer the question that many have asked me-  I do feel different. Something in my spirit has shifted. The awesome responsibility of being a disciple; an ambassador of Christ; a person called and chosen to serve God and God’s people has landed deeper in my heart than I had ever imagined. My centre of my identity has been altered and I now feel more rooted and grounded in God’s love and in service to God than ever before. I am deeply honoured and grateful that I continued to say “Yes” to God despite the hundreds of times I was tempted to say “no” or “maybe” or “later.”

So to the beautiful, faithful people of St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for the awesome privilege of being one of your Ministers. Thank you for your trust and for this Community of Faith that I am so blessed to be Ordained to. May we journey many more wide open spaces, hills and valleys together and in God’s love.

“And when we come to search for God, Let us first be robed in night, put on the mind of morning to feel the rush of light spread slowly inside the colour and stillness of a found world.” -John O’Donahue


Lorraine Ashdown

Lorraine often refers to herself as a “Prairie Girl” even though she left her hometown of Winnipeg fifteen years ago. Lorraine graduated from Vancouver School of Theology with a Masters of Arts in Public and Pastoral Leadership and a diploma in Indigenous and Interreligious Studies. She is the Minister of Pastoral Care, Elders and Outreach with St. Andrew’s Wesley. Lorraine was Ordained on Sunday, June 3rd, 2018 at BC Conference in Penticton,B.C. Lorraine brings to St. Andrew’s Wesley an authentic love of the United Church and a desire to create community and a sense of belonging within the faith community of St. Andrew’s Wesley and beyond.

One Comment

  1. You drove on your own, whether by circumstance or intention. Along the way though, a rich priestly and poetic teacher joined you in the audio voice of John O’Donohue. I imagine your pilgrimage (moving from the known to the unknown) was invaluably guided by his radiating words of ‘blessing’ to bring you to another new threshold-on becoming an ordained minister. What an inspiring journey you have made. Congratulations.

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