Those Answering The Call to Ministry By Ken Hockenberry


So far in 2023 our Presbytery has participated in four Installation Services for Pastors and Associate Pastors – and there are more to come:

Matt Lang was installed as Pastor of First in Homewood, and Calvary United Protestant in Park Forest (Feb 26).
Jim Cochrane was installed as Associate Pastor at First in Lake Forest (Apr 16).
Kat Hatting was installed as Associate Pastor at First in Wheaton (Apr 30).
Kara Smith-Laubenstein was installed as Associate Pastor at First in Wilmette (May 7).

The “more to come” include:

Holly Hoppe is to be installed as Pastor of St. Luke in Downers Grove (May 21).
Elias Cabarcas Arroyo is to be ordained and commissioned as Pastor / Evangelist of Dia Nueva, our latest New Worshipping Community, in Hanover Park (Jun 4).
We had a similar streak of six ordinations and installations last fall (2022) – all of which means our now Past Moderator David Thornton, current Moderator Barbara Gorsky, and current ModeratorElect Jim Davidovich have all been very busy over the past 10 months.

These services of worship are uplifting for those attending, and encouraging to these congregations and these new ministers. These events are clear signs that the Holy Spirit is still at work in our congregations, calling women and men to the ministry of word and sacrament.  

This call, however, is not for ministers only. Part of the liturgy we use at these services includes the words: We are all called into the church of Jesus Christ by baptism, and marked as Christ’s own by the Holy Spirit. This is our common calling. We are all called to be disciples and servants of Jesus Christ. Some are called to particular service, and to particular forms of ordered ministry, as ruling elders, teaching elders (ministers), and deacons.

Such a statement lifts up our Reformed understanding of the priesthood of all believers. All are called, all are invited to engage in mission and ministry. Some, yes, are called to particular service – but the essential call of God is to all of us, who are part of God’s family by baptism. All have been gifted with the Holy Spirit – including you.

May we all seek to live out this common calling, to demonstrate the love and justice of Jesus Christ, as the Spirit leads.
Ken Hockenberry
Stated Clerk