Written by Jane Siebert
One of the joys of being president is to visit churches. Twenty months of pandemic restrictions have curtailed my visits. I was delighted in late September to make the ten-hour drive to Urbana, Ohio, to offer the consecration and installation of Robbin Ferriman as licensed pastor in the Urbana New Church. I had the additional joy to stay with Bev and John Titus to share stories and renew a dear friendship.
Robbin and her community put a lot of work and preparation into the beautiful ceremony and worship service. Family and friends flew in from Florida and drove in from around her hometown of St. Louis. Rev. Betsy Coffman proudly assisted Robbin in offering communion and spoke of their joint ministry to the Urbana Society and how their gifts of ministry complement one another.
After the service, we all gathered for lunch and shared memories of Robbin’s adventure into the Swedenborgian Church. She glowed as she spoke of how much the church means to her and how it has helped her through difficult times.
Next, on Halloween Sunday, Herb Ziegler drove Jennifer Lindsay and me to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, for the consecration and installation of Kelly Milne. We three had been in the Investment Committee meetings on Saturday. The Bridgewater Society had the sanctuary prepped and ready for visitors, and over eighty attended the service, including members of the Elmwood New Church with Rev. Dr. Donna Keane. Kelly is a proud member of the Order of the Eastern Star, an appendant Masonic organization, and friends supporting her in ministry came from around the state. It was a joyous occasion.
Rev. Susannah Currie, retiring minister and mentor for Kelly’s licensed pastor journey, spoke about their work together and Kelly’s natural inclination to ministry. Susannah shared the names of saints that had served the Bridgewater New Jerusalem Church on this All-Saints Day. The names included Kelly’s grandfather who had served many years as Sunday school superintendent. Kelly officiated her first communion for the congregation. Her family and friends had prepared a luncheon and the fellowship hall was filled with conversation and camaraderie.
Finally, it was a unique experience offering the consecration for Jae Chung in Southern California in both English and Korean. Jae had translated the consecration and installation service into Korean. I gave a short homily about regeneration, and I noticed when Jae translated, she spoke with such joy and enthusiasm, and her translation was quite a bit longer than my English words, so I’m sure it was more of a sermon than my short homily. Jae has searched for many years for teachings that make sense to her and that she can live out in her life. When she speaks of Swedenborg her whole body lights up. She is invested in bringing the New Church teachings to her Korean community. Not only does she have a small home church, but she has also created a YouTube channel, (Agapao ComeUnity).
Jae’s church also provided a time of respite for me and Jennifer Lindsay on Laguna Beach. I flew out for the Wayfarers’ board meeting in Los Angeles, and afterwards Jae picked me up and offered a lovely hotel on the beach until the weekend special service. Jennifer drove down from San Francisco, and we enjoyed the waves and great seafood meals, including an official Korean barbeque. The highlight was the service at Jae’s home, welcomed by her husband, daughter, and Korean members and friends and sharing a meal with them.
We are blessed to welcome these three new licensed pastors and hope to see them all at the annual convention this summer.
Read the full issue of the December 2021 Messenger
Meet Rev. Jane Siebert
Rev. Jane Siebert is the President of the Swedenborgian Church of North America.