On Monday, September 17th, 2012, Melanie Calabrigo became the 24th postulant and 14th woman to be ordained in the Diocese of New Westminster in the last decade.
She is now The Reverend Melanie Calabrigo, transitional deacon.
Melanie has been appointed to a part-time ministry position at Mt. Olive, Lutheran Church in Surrey (September 1st), an opportunity that would not have been available 12 years ago. But due to the last 11 years of full communion between the two denominations, a sacramental worship like Melanie’s ordination is now possible with mutually beneficial results.
Bishop Michael was present to ordain Melanie with the laying on of hands and to preside at the Eucharist and The Rev. Dr. Gregory Mohr, Bishop, British Columbia Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada was the preacher and also participated in the ordination.
Ordinations in the Holy Church of God usually take place at a Cathedral, however having the service at Melanie’s parish church, St. Anne’s, Steveston, provided a less formal atmosphere that was perfect for this liturgy. Melanie is part of a family, the mother of three, and she is also a part of a worshipping community, St. Anne’s and these three aspects of her life will unite in the shared ministry that Melanie’s ordination will achieve.
Melanie’s sons, Jeremy and Nicholas presented the First Reading, Isaiah 6: 1-8 and her daughter Allegra was called upon to read the Epistle, Philippians 4:4-9.
Among those at the service in support of Melanie were St. Anne’s parishioners, VST students, friends, family and clergy.
Bishop Greg began his homily by saying that we had gathered to celebrate a very special day, “the setting apart of Melanie as she begins ordained ministry.” Bishop Greg is delighted that Melanie will take a position of ordained leadership in a Lutheran congregation. He cautioned her that her new colleagues will want to give her advice so he shared with her one of his favourite quotes,
“I’m not here to tell you want to do, but to tell you who you are.”
These words have been significant for Bishop Greg, for it is for God to know us. Our covenanted relationship with God through our baptism gives us identity and belonging. We belong to none other than Christ, “as Easter people we live our lives through Christ.” “We go in Peace to serve the Lord, a proclamation that identifies us for a life in service to God.”
Toward the end of his address Bishop Greg made reference to his avocation as a choral singer and the rehearsal tradition of raising one’s hand when one makes a mistake in order that the director knows that a mistake has been made and knowledge of the source of the mistake has been acknowledged. He went on to hypothesize about a world where everyone who makes a mistake raises their hand. The world’s population would be an ever moving sea of raised hands. He used the symbol of making a hand gesture to encourage Melanie to use her hands to make a different kind of gesture, a gesture that communicates love, forgiveness and understanding, the Sign of the Cross.
The Presentation, Examination , Litany and Consecration sections of the liturgy flowed smoothly and the laying on of hands by both Bishops was for all in attendance a powerfully moving experience.
The music in worship led by the music ministry of Melanie's new community, Mt. Olive, Lutheran fit the tone of the liturgy perfectly.
Please keep Melanie, her family and her new community of Mt. Olive in your prayers as they move forward in shared ministry together.
Images: Top and homepage, Bishop Greg and Bishop Michael welcome the newly consecrated Reverend Melanie Calabrigo to the transitional diaconate and ordained ministry. Top left, Melanie's sons, Jeremy and Nicholas read Isaiah 6:1-8. Middle right, Melanie's daughter, Allegra reads Philippians 4:4-9. Middle left, the preacher, Bishop Greg Mohr. Below, Laying on of hands at the Consecration of the Deacon