Rev Claire Pickering was ordained as a Minister of the Word on Saturday 2 September 2017 at Bicton Uniting Church.
Rev Trevor Waters, Chair of the Uniting Church WA Pastoral Relations Committee, shared Claire’s path to ordination with the congregation. He said that she has been on a life-long journey of faith, raised as a minister’s daughter.
She first felt the call at around age 18, in 1997. However, it wasn’t until mid 2005 that she surrendered to her call to ministry. After a period of discernment, Claire transferred her ministry training to the Uniting Church VIC TAS in 2008. In 2011 she made the difficult decision to delay her ordination, and in 2015 she continued the path.
Claire is currently in placement as the chaplain at Penrhos College, a role she took up in 2016.
Rev Dr Anne Wright, Chaplain at Scotch College, delivered the message of the Word during the service. She talked about the importance of school chaplaincy, and Christian ministry.
“In chapel and classrooms, every year, I get to tell stories of Jesus and ancient heroes to children who have never heard them before,” she said. “Story telling is a powerful tool in our hearts and minds.
“It is with stories that we write our own stories of life and narrate them to others. It is with stories that we make meaning about this life and connect it to a greater purpose than our own. With story we connect ourselves to the grand narrative of salvation for human beings. The Bible is full of stories of great struggle and sacrifice, stories of endurance in difficulties, stories of speaking with God and being led by God. Stories when everything was terrible and yet God made the difference. We need those stories today. Not always stories where everything came out all right in the end – either romantically or winning the war- whichever one it is. But stories of hope, none the less.
“Here is our calling, as ministers, as people of God. We must pay attention to that which is most important and keep calling people out to those things for as long as anyone will listen. We are called to be defenders of the faith, people of the book, chaplains and clergy together.
“We stand as ministers in the tradition of Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the prophets. There are many voices which will call out to live for the self and its desires, voices with easy messages of comfort. We are called to something different.”
Claire responded, saying she is grateful to God, and that she has experienced the grace and love of God.
“I am so blessed,” she said.