The fall learning circle of the Integration Year finished today. The five students in their final year of the diaconal ministries program are looking toward graduation next spring, if all goes as planned.
For Rachel, part of looking ahead to graduation and ministry involved getting married.
Rachel and Andrew had been planning a wedding that was to have taken place last June. Then the world flipped on its head. Covid-19 made large celebratory gatherings unsafe. Celebrations were called off, invitations were rescinded.
But as Rachel thought ahead to receiving her diploma in diaconal ministries, and later to commissioning into ministry in the United Church, she knew that she wanted her new married name on that document.
Also, they really just didn’t want to wait until … when?
So earlier this month Rachel and Andrew had their pandemic wedding – with five family members and 2 friends, no singing, masks and social distancing, and a live-streamed video on youtube so anyone could attend the ceremony from the safety of their homes.
As late as the 1960s, United Church deaconesses (diaconal ministers) were “disjoined” – removed from ministry – if they got married. Marcie Gibson, CCS program staff responsible for the Integration Year, recalled this sad part of diaconal history and expressed gratitude that for Rachel and other, marriage and graduation/commissioning are not mutually exclusive.
The newlyweds are still hoping to have a big event with music and dancing and a large gathering of family and friends when such things are safe again. In the meantime, Rachel has changed the name on her zoom picture from “Rachel Myers-Jordan” to “Rachel Nadon”, and she and Andrew are looking forward to what the future will bring as they start this new adventure together.