Confirmed, Signed, and Ordained

Part 6 of a multi-installment series for Lent.
6. The Moment of Institutional Commitment – What led you to make an institutional commitment? How did it feel to publicly declare your religious group identity?
A photo of a crowd of people surrounding a man being ordained, laying hands on his shoulders
Rev. Tony Lorenzen is ordained by the First Church in Leominster, MA, Unitarian Universalist on June 3, 2007

I’ve made three institutional commitments to faith communities. The first was when I finally made my confirmation as a Catholic. The second was in 2003 when I joined the Unitarian Universalist congregation in my hometown and the third was when I was ordained a Unitarian Universalist minister. Ordination was a commitment to the same faith community but it was a different public declaration of commitment and identity than becoming a Unitarian Universalist and joining a congregation.

I was raised Catholic and I dropped out of my confirmation program while in high school. I no longer liked going to church. I wasn’t sure I believed in the teachings of the church and unlike my friends, I was uncomfortable going through the motions just so my family could lavish (mostly monetary) gifts on me on confirmation day. I thought my mom would be more upset at this than she was. She was disappointed but she also saw no point in making a big deal out of it, especially if it was going to cause ongoing tension between us. My brother went on to make his confirmation in high school a few years after I dropped out. I find it fascinating that he no longer has anything to do with religion at all and I have made serious adult commitments to first the Catholic Church of my upbringing and then to Unitarian Universalism. I even went on to become an ordained minister. And I was the one who ditched it all in high school.

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