You know how when folks get married, the parents help as much as they are allowed to because they have been through it before and been to many weddings? Well, what I need is an "ordination mother"- my own mother would do it but has never been ordained, and come to think of it has never been to an ordination in this denomination.
The ladies group at church is putting on the reception, so that is set. But I am being ordained many miles from where I started (moved here in May) and am considering a brunch at my house the following morning for those who come from out of town. Thoughts? What am I not thinking of?
Soooo, what are the customary gifts for this occasion? What do I say when the relatives ask? Anyone have a list of things every Episcopal Priest should have?
Peripatetic Polar Bear notes that "ordinations are generally elaborate services with fairly simple receptions, so your ladies guild is doing a fabulous thing for you. Having a brunch the next day is nice, especially if people have come a long way. My understanding is that the priestly ordination will have a big first eucharist thing the next morning, so you may want to save your brunch chops for that--or do it twice."
As for gifts, PPB offered up some ideas that aren't denomination-specific:
- certificates to religious bookstores (cokesbury, etc.) to buy those big old commentaries that you can no longer access from your seminary library
- crosses--particularly the big ones worn over robes
- stoles, robes and clergy shirts
- communion sets (the small ones you take to the hospital)
- general "getting started in a new career" stuff--briefcase, business card holders, personal stationery with your name engraved, things for your new office walls, etc.
Ann of What the Tide Brings In joins us as a new matriarch, and an Episcopal one at that, and she had this to offer: Don't worry about anything too much, as it's all happened to someone in the past. "One thing to remember—no matter what happens at the service or the reception, you will be ordained, and all the other incidents around the event will become the stuff of legend and much grand storytelling in the future. Anything that can go awry has happened before, so enjoy your day."
She encourages you to enlist lots of help for your brunch event, because you will be exhausted. But it may well be the most important part of your ordination! "Let your friends and family do whatever is comfortable for you," she says. "At my diaconal ordination we had a dinner before the service with friends and family. The feeling of being ordained happened at that event even more than at the actual ordination rite in the Cathedral. So party with those who have loved you along the way."
She stresses that it's better to give giftly hints lest you wind up with "all sorts of Hallmark angels, etc." She adds that it's customary for your family to give you a stole, but be sure they "get one that can be used as a priest stole, not a deacon style one." Preferably one in red, she adds. And, the bishop will give you a bible.
- Gift certificates to Almy or Womenspirit for shirts, vestments, collars, episco-dodads.
- A communion visit set works well as a group gift, but be sure they "get an Episcopal one with a single chalice. I was given one with individual cups!"
- The combination Book of Common Prayer/Hymnal 1982. The leather binding version, she notes, is more durable and won't crack.
- An extra-long vestment bag, if you are going to be traveling often, is good for transporting your robes and albs. Even better if it's personalized, she notes.
- The out-of-print-but-still-on-Amazon Burial Services: Rite One and Rite Two With the Holy Eucharist, Rite One and Rite Two and Additional Material by Joseph Bernardin
- Extra collar studs
- A shoe polish kit
For those of you reading, what was the most useful gift you received at ordination, or what do you wish you had gotten but didn't? And does anyone else have tales of ordination celebrations to share? If so, please post them in the comments!