The ordination of Denise Williams gathered friends and family from north and south, east and west, or from the Lehigh Valley to Norristown, and from the Oley Valley to Missouri. Presbyterians and UCC gathered at Pennside Presbyterian Church for a stirring reminder that when we are called, we stand on “holy ground.” (Exodus 3).
The dialogue sermon by Dr. Anabel Proffitt and her teaching assistant Jacquie Church-Young from Lancaster Theological Seminary recalled a 4th grade Sunday School class in which the voice of God had to be louder, “MOSES, MOSES” and a response that was allowed to be small, because even as a child, saying “Here I am” to God was an awesome thing.
Denise’s children, Carl and Naomi participated in the service as readers and presenters. A particularly compelling moment occurred when the symbols of ministry were presented to Denise – a Bible by Rev. Barbara Lucia, a stole by Vicki Bowers, a plate with bread by her husband, Russell Williams and a chalice and cup by her daughter Naomi.
As the service concluded, Denise reflected on the “terrifying question” Steve Shussett asked her when she first appeared before the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, “Why this ministry?” After recounting her journey and struggle with that question, she said, “Why this ministry? Because I am called to it.”
Following the service, those assembled feasted in the Fellowship Hall at a dinner in Rev. Williams’ honor. Following her ordination, Denise was dismissed to the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery where she will soon begin her ministry at Pacific Presbyterian Church in Pacific, MO. She will begin her ministry there on Easter Sunday. Three elders from Pacific made the journey to Pennside and participated in her ordination.