Reverend Judith Andrade,
My Ordination Journey.
Over the weekend of October 1-2 2011, the second of my firsts came to fruition. Imagine at my great young middle age, having the opportunity to participate in something new, something never done before with an amazing group of people I never met and doing it for the second time in less than three months! I thought my time in Hollywood was awesome but my ordination as an interfaith minister was as challenging as it gets.
Although I had been ordained in 1999 through The International Assembly of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards, I didn’t take my divinity degree until 2002-4, when I realized a dream to build a new and unique Ministry for and by women. The additional training added a wonderful dimension to the work. The whole plan started to blossom in 2004 only to have it shattered with the sudden and unexpected death of my co-collaborator, dear friend and business partner. Everything was put on hold. For the first three years I was shattered, feeling that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be. Then one day, I woke up, like Buddha and wondered why I thought all the dreams we shared as friends should end. Some dreams die with people who share our goals, some have to be adjusted and some should go on in order to honour the person and keep their spirit alive. This dream we had of helping women and men to overcome trauma and childhood abuse was worthy and needed. Our vision was not for ourselves but for how we could help others. So I started on projects which clearly got me back on the right track. I completed and published my two novels, The Will To Be True/In The Shadow of the Blackbird and a third, Suspect, Love. Just as I completed my third book and pitched it at the first ever ‘Pitchfest’ organized by my publisher in Hollywood, I was offered a chance to be ordained with the seminary, AIHT, where I completed my degree, something which was not available at the time I graduated. How do they connect? The novels relate stories of strong women who have overcome childhood traumas and succeeded where they thought the status quo was the only option. On completing the books and having them published, I was inspired to follow my global paths and fulfill those dormant dreams. Getting to the point of ordination was not easy. We were given three months to complete herculean tasks (well it seemed that way to me). With much focus, I finished the required courses, books, and services. ( I mean, who needed to write another 10,000 word essay after writing a 100,00 word book?). I mailed my last assignment two days before the deadline and blamed Canada Post for not getting it there on time. I wasn’t the only one but the College faculty were beyond understanding and so patient with all of us because this whole ordination things was new for them too. Our group was just amazing. We were from all walks of life, sharing different histories, but working with common purpose to prepare for our ordination and bring our strengths to the multi-faith service in which we all took part. I never met any of my colleagues but knew most of them by voice. With very few hitches, we were all ordained by the hardworking Administrative Director and Director of the College through the support of A World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy.
Change and challenge are always wonderful exercises which allow us to observe the strength of the human spirit. As humans we are blessed with the ability to look back at where we started and see where we reach, then use that impetus to move us forward. What will always please me is the chance I had to be first again and pave the way for others. I am mindful that in these later years of my life I must follow the example and goals, set as a standard for achievement, by my pioneering grandmother way back in 1927. If I emulate her courage even for a day, I hope I have made her proud of me.