Commencement is about endings and beginnings. It is the name some use for Convocation/Graduation ceremonies, thus signalling the end of a stage in life. School's out forever, or at least until there are new lessons to be learned. It also describes a beginning, a start: you've finished one stage and go on to the next.
Last Saturday was my Commencement Exercise. I was admitted into the Order of Ministry of the United Church of Canada. My graduation was shared with two other ordained ministers who were welcomed by the UCC, and five people who were ordained into the UCC. For three of us our process of demonstrating our competence was over, for the others their long education and evolving understanding of a call to ministry were acknowledged. All eight of us were celebrated and embraced. It was a good moment.
All of this takes place in the community of faith, the Church, the Household of Freedom. I, along with the others, were encouraged on their journey not just by the denomination but by the churches we serve. And so thanks must be given to the good and visionary people of Forest Grove United Church, with whom I hope to continue working. Some of them came for the celebration. I am grateful for all, whether they were in Midland for the ceremony or not. Let the ministry we share commence!