February 18, 2022
A note from Rev. Elsa Anders Cook:
For clergy like me, installations mean that we get to pull that gorgeous red stole from the back of the closet. Mine has flames to remind us to the movement of the Holy Spirit moving among us and it’s one I only really get to wear on Pentecost when the whole church understands each other in a whole new way. For me, installations also mean I get to pull out my red heels which are important because I’ll be robed all in black but that doesn’t mean that my feet won’t be ready to party.
I won’t get to wear this attire this time. On February 27 at 4:00 p.m. your time, I'll be tucked into bed here in Germany as the party begins in Austin but I hope and pray that it does feel like a party as you celebrate this new covenant together.
Covenant is what we are all about as people of faith. We make promises to each other and God without ever really knowing what the future holds. We set intentions and declare our hopes for what we pray will be.
An installation is kinda like a wedding in that way. It’s a worshipful moment where we make promises to each other as the new pastor and the church. That circle of care extends beyond the people we see in weekly worship to the people that pray for us and minster by our sides in our denominations. We are all part of this promise and this hope and together we join in making bold declarations about what we believe is possible in this new relationship.
It is an occasion where we recognize that the Holy Spirit is moving through us, and you know from Pentecost, that means things will change. We will understand each other in new ways and our ministry will shift as we share in each other’s gifts and talents. Let me emphasize that because we tend to think that it’s all about the pastor. That’s not true. The promises the local church we makes are just as big and overwhelming.
It is a service of covenanting between pastor, church and the wider church with whom we share our work. No one part is greater than the whole. Each is important. Each has ministry to offer. Each has reason to celebrate with red shoes and loud, boisterous alleluias!
I’ll be tuning in on YouTube the following morning — as I always do — to share in your joy and to wonder how this new relationship will change who and what the United Christian Church of Austin is called to become next.