Dr. Howard Thurman is quoted as saying, “Do not ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do it, for what the world needs is people who have come alive.” This statement has particular meaning for the pastor of the West Suffield Congregational Church, UCC, Reverend Lisa Eleck. She states, “My preparation for ministry has made me come alive. From the writing of prayers and preaching sermons in divinity school, to the transition from my role as a nurse practitioner in hospice to the pastoral role during Clinical Pastoral Education and visiting parishioners as a minister, to consecrating bread and juice at Communion, I have felt that I have been where God wants me to be.”
The culmination of that journey was celebrated in a Service of Ordination on January 28. Lisa states “It was an amazing, joyous and blessed experience for me. It was also a time of deep gratitude shared with family, old friends, and many from her West Suffield congregation. There was such positive energy in that service that it felt like the presence of the Holy Spirit was strong in that church in that afternoon.”
Ordination is the culmination of a specific process in the United Church of Christ. To become ordained, a person must obtain the approval of her home church and “Association” within the UCC to become a “Member in Discernment,” obtain a Master’s in Divinity, complete a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (a chaplaincy internship), submit an ordination paper to a committee and present it at an “Ecclesiastical Council” and then receive a call from a church. After completing that process, the “Member in Discernment” may be ordained. This means that Pastor Lisa Eleck may now be called Reverend Lisa Eleck. She thinks that is “awesome and pretty cool.”
Lisa continues to feel very blessed and grateful. She is grateful to the Rocky Hill Congregational Church for its support in her process. She is grateful to all the ministers, lay persons and seminary instructors who have served as teachers and mentors throughout her journey. She is grateful to family and old friends for walking with her for the years that this process required. And she is grateful to the people of the West Suffield Congregational Church for their welcome, support, and encouragement.
Lisa looks forward to her ministry with the West Suffield Congregational Church and the United Church of Christ, to sharing her love of worship and her passion for social justice, outreach and interfaith relations with this community. As the church celebrates its 275 year history in 2018, Lisa is learning about its place in this community. She also is excited about building on the past to move forward into the future – continuing such outreach as the Crossroads Food Pantry, sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 66 and Cub Scout Troop 266, and working with Suffield Emergency Aid, the Network and the Suffield Interfaith Council. She also looks forward to creating new traditions such as attending Faith and Family Days at a Yard Goats game and selling jewelry and crafts from Haiti at the church’s International Bazaar. She is open to new ideas to help individuals to grow in their faith and build community. Lisa sees these as exciting opportunities for a church to live its faith. She looks forward to growing with her church family.