What a great day it was Sunday for the newly ordained Rev. Kris Leaman (second from left) and for those of us fortunate to be on hand for her ordination Mass late Sunday afternoon at St. John's Episcopal Church in Mason City.
Others gathered around her are the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, bishop of Iowa, on the left; Fred Steinbach, rector of St. Andrew's Church, Chariton; and the Rev. Wendy Abrahamson, formerly of St. John's but now of St. Paul's Church, Grinnell.
Fred was a year ahead of Kris in the ordination process, which involves a number of complicated years of study and preparation, and so was able to serve as a mentor. And Kris began the process from discernment to ordination under Wendy's pastorate.
We actually had two bishops for the price of one on hand for Sunday's service, since the Rev. Michael Last, who served 12 years as bishop of the Western Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has served as interim rector of St. John's since Wendy's move to Grinnell St. Paul's.
Kris's husband, Jay, behind her in this series of slightly fuzzy shots taken from a distance immediately after the rite of ordination, has been tremendously supportive and is part of the package deal that occurs within a family once one member is ordained. He served as cantor and litanist during Sunday's service.
For the time being, Kris will be involved with the chaplaincy program at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa as well as serving as priest associate at St. John's. She was ordained into the transitional diaconate last April, I believe.
Point-and-shoot cameras are not intended for the recording of moving events in large churches, but since the Gospel procession stopped right by my pew, here's another familiar (to me) face (right), that of the Rev. Canon Elliot Blackburn, officially "retired" but still active as a supply priest in North Iowa.
St. John's was my church before I moved permanently to Chariton, so it was fun to be back in familiar places and see familiar faces, especially that of Mary Pieper, a former colleague at the newspaper in Mason City (where she continues to work) and also now a member of the St. John's vestry.
Fred and I got home about 9 last night --- somewhat worn down but certainly glad that we made the trip north.