Last month John and I were in Garden City, Long Island, for the ordination of our granddaughter Kerlin to the Episcopal priesthood. With us were Kerlin's father and brother,who flew from Nashville to Boston so the four of us could take the train down to New York (no passenger trains where they live.)
"Magnificent" hardly does justice to the splendor of the ceremony at the cathedral. Next day there was a much smaller but equally meaningful service: Kerlin's first Eucharist as priest. Unlike a deacon, her previous status, a priest can consecrate the bread and wine, perform the other sacraments, and pronounce blessing.
Kerlin outside "Bushwick Abbey," on December 8, her first Sunday as priest. The "Abbey" has no permanent home ("The church is the people, not the building," Kerlin reminded us) and its present venue is a radio station. "We want to serve people who might not enter a traditional church building."
Here's the weekly transformation of a radio station into a worship space: a table with cloth & candles, a bowl for offerings ("Put money in or take out, at need," Kerlin prompts,) and on the stage a stool with four purple candles -- two lit this first Sunday of Advent. I don't know if you can make out the piano, drums and electric guitars that take the place of the organ in our conventional church back in Massachusetts.
The chalice and patten handmade by a ceramicist friend of Kerlin's mother, Meg.
Kerlin at home with her nine-year-old son Adin. The blue hair is just the color of the moment -- last time we were together it was pink.
Kerlin's husband, Jordan Richter, "the real hero of the occasion," says Kerlin. Jordan had to leave his sound recording business in Oregon to be with her during her years at General Seminary in Manhattan, and now in Brooklyn, where care of their son is often daddy's job.
Four generations: father John, son, country music-writer John Scott Sherrill, grandson Peter, a recent college graduate with a degree in sound engineering, great-grandson Adin.
Adin reading to Papa John while his grandfather listens. Kerlin's sermons can be found on RichterFamilyAdventure.com.