The service was held in my home congregation—Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Encinitas, CA—and the Rev. Laura Ziehl, Bishop Mark Holmerud, and the Rev. Amanda Nelson presided.
As I begin this new iteration of ministry, gratitude is all that comes to mind. These words of thanks were printed in my ordination bulletin:
The depth of my gratitude for those who made this day possible could never be expressed wholly in words, but I never shy away from an opportunity to say something.
I am grateful to my parents, Karin and Gary, for approximately one million things, but especially for their love, support, listening ears, crying eyes, welcoming arms, and open hearts. I am grateful to the Alexes for their love and joyous laughter and willingness to take probably two red-eyes to be here. I am grateful for all the Turpins and Kloehns (and everyone in between), my original cloud of witnesses and communion of saints.
I am grateful to my partner in learning and in love, Jonathan, for his seemingly un-ending willingness to try new things—like date a pastor and read poetry—and for his encouragement in all that I do. I am grateful to my best friend, the Rev. Amanda Nelson, for her grace and wisdom throughout seminary and into our ordained lives (ack!)—and for every minute of silliness that has kept us together.
I am grateful for my sister (bloodlines notwithstanding) Kelsey Sprowell and for the Rev. Gretchen Rode and the Rev. Maria Anderson—the other Pastoritas—whose presence and absence is most certainly felt.
I am grateful for the love and support of my two bonus families—the Vance and Fields clans—and for the years of joys and challenges we’ve seen through together. That so many of you are here today renders me (nearly) speechless.
I am grateful for my colleagues and comrades of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Sierra Pacific Synod, whose community and leadership sustained me throughout my seminary career and into this first call.
I am grateful to all the good folks at The Belfry—my dear students and LEVNeers, to say the least—who provide me the privilege of doing what I love every day.
I am grateful to the pastoral, professional, and professorial squad of California Lutheran University—including but not limited to the Revs. Scott and Melissa Maxwell-Doherty, President Chris Kimball, and the Religion Department—especially the Rev. Dr. Julia Fogg, for her mentorship, for introducing me to Türkiye, for laughing with me throughout Biblical Greek, and for continuing to model the particular strength that women bring to ministry.
I am grateful for Jonathan Garman and the whole BLCYM—those who led me in my youth and those who humored me as I led them in their youth. I’d drive a 15-passenger-van full of y’all every summer in a heartbeat.
I am grateful to the Rev. Laura Ziehl and to Mona Goetsch and to all the good folks here at Bethlehem who did a lot of work to make this evening go as swimmingly as (I imagine, as I type this weeks in advance) it did.
I am grateful for everyone who participated tonight—Global Music Ensemble, ushers, communion assistants, readers, reception-setter-uppers, and every other detailer whom I’ve forgotten—for being part of this monumental day in my life and ministry.
And I am grateful for you! Since you’re here and reading this, you’re part of how I got to this moment in this place. Your community, support, and prayer are integral to my life and work. I’m so glad you’re here to celebrate with me.
And for you, dear reader, I am grateful. Thanks for being the unknown people to whom I blog away the weeks. You're part of my work (and play) and I appreciate you.