An Early Call by God

Next week will mark the 45th anniversary of my ordination to the Christian ministry. The service took place on June 27, 1971 in the sanctuary of the historic Park Street Church on the Boston Common. I spent six formative years on the staff of that church, but my call to the pastoral ministry came much, much earlier.

I was baptized into Jesus Christ’s Church has the three week old infant in 1946 at the Holy Ghost Russian Orthodox Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut. When I was about eight years old I became an altar boy and absolutely loved being in church. I love the liturgy, the prayers, the music, and the pageantry – and I love having an active role in it. A few years later I became a cantor – that is, I chanted from the Psalms, the Old Testament, or the Epistle Lesson.

It was during this time that Father John Kivko told my mother that he saw a life in the Church for me. Mom did not tell me about this for many years – after I had become a Presbyterian minister. There will be more about this later, but it is enough to know that God called me, gifted me, and prepared me from the earliest days of my life – and perhaps even before!