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In a capital campaign like the Great Expectation Capital Growth Campaign of our church, individual members, member families, and Friends of the church, are looking to make sacrificial gifts. Several of us are considering:

+ gifts from an income stream, from salaries, or some other source of income;

+ a gift of appreciated property such as stock, real estate, life insurance cash value, or an automobile;

+ a larger gift to our church made possible through a reallocation of total charitable contributions;

+ an extraordinary gift from inheritance or unexpected asset

+ a postponement of a personal, large purchase –vacation, or auto until a gift to the church is satisfied

+ a postponement of retirement

+ a legacy gift, motivated by three facts: a) the church's transparent need, b) a real opportunity to make a long-lasting, visible contribution, and, c) life is short.

Many have yet to make their commitments. Thanks to all for your on-going discernment regarding our historic campaign. Remember that the first commitment is to our operating budget for year 2013. The second gift is for the Capital Growth Campaign, to be paid out over approximately three to four years.

Ordination? I've delivered several ordination sermons and have attended the ordination of former members who were called to our ministry, but this church has never ordained anyone. An installation of an ordained minister (you may remember mine from years ago) is different from an ordination. Our Board is asking the congregation on December 9 to vote to ordain Nathan Ryan. Assuming a positive vote, we will plan an ordination ceremony, to be scheduled most likely on a Sunday evening sometime next year.

Several members have noticed that "The Reverend" never appears before his name. Why is that? He is fully credentialed. He was graduated from Meadville-Lombard Theological School this year. The UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee met with him last year, reviewed his ministerial preparation, and gave him a "green light" to proceed in his ministry. He also was the top-selection in a national search conducted by our local search committee. Not one of these entities: not clergy, not seminary, not UUA, not church board, can ordain him. Only a congregation in our tradition can ordain. Ordination, often called the highest demonstration of power that any standing congregation can exhibit, is a grand event and celebration for minister and congregation alike.

What's involved in the words, "The Reverend?" You should know that several local hospitals do not afford "chaplain" status to non-ordained ministers, depriving such persons certain visitation privileges. Furthermore, the state of Louisiana will not issue a license to conduct a wedding until proof of ordination is provided at the Clerk of Court. You should also know that Nathan is choosing this congregation over other congregations to ordain him. (Please see his column.) I hope you will see his request and the Board's recommendation as an empowering action on the part of this congregation as well as a ritual action with historically deep roots in the Unitarian Universalist tradition. I hope you feel honored.