“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”
(1 Peter 4:10)
“My yearly meeting doesn’t do that,” is what I usually say when people ask me if I’m ordained. “We have this thing called recording, which is similar to ordination… but my yearly meeting doesn’t do that either. My gifts in ministry are minuted somewhere so perhaps that counts. Plus, I am seminary trained.”
Laughing I add, “I guess that means I could put Rev. in front of my name if I wanted to... then again Quakers don't usually use titles.” Please understand though, that I’m joking. I do however, identify as being a recognized minster among my community of Quakers, but I don’t claim to be recorded. Baltimore Yearly Meeting laid down that process a long time ago. But in a world where ordination carries professional legitimacy in the professions of chaplaincy, hospice care, and institutional leadership, are we being unwise?
The question of recording is something that I have thought about extensively, especially over these past two years. Now that I am in a place in my life where I am considering transferring my membership away from Baltimore Yearly Meeting, I am curious to see if any seeds of these thoughts will take root.
I've witnessed through their writings a few of my friends go through the recording process and still others lifted up in other less formal ways for their gifts in a wide range of ministries. As I find myself coming to new crossroads in my life where life and work are opening for me to ask myself and God what my gifts are, I am encouraged to hear the passage from 1 Peter above echoing around me... just go use your gifts... just go be your authentic self... just go. be. serve.