A First: Mom, Daughter Ordained Together

Post a Comment » Written on June 21st, 2006     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (June 21, 2006) – The first mother and daughter ever to be ordained in the same year say they didn’t think about the fact that this also is the year the Evangelical Covenant Church celebrates the 30th anniversary of its decision to ordain women.

“We hadn’t thought about that,” says Marti Burger, who with daughter, Melissa Wall, was ordained during Friday evening’s worship service as part of the 121st Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids. Learning of the connection made the event even more special, Marti adds. “The Covenant family has encouraged us, and that’s a huge gift.”

Marti Burger and Melissa Wall“It was so amazing,” Melissa says. “It’s a privilege and an honor.”

Marti is the director of youth and family ministries for the Covenant’s Department of Christian Formation. Melissa is the associate pastor of Christian Formation at DeerGrove Covenant Church in Palatine, Illinois.

“I really wanted to be ordained with Melissa,” says Marti, who finished her master’s degree years after she first started. “I felt blessed to be ordained with her.”

Marti had begun work on her M.Div. some 18 years ago, but then children came along and she began working alongside Steve in ministry. “I just couldn’t do it all,” Marti says as to why she waited to finish. “This year, I said I was going to do it all.”

If most years would have been difficult to fit school into her schedule, this year in particular may have been one of the tougher ones. Her son, Paul, was graduating from high school, and she is one of the CHIC organizers. That event takes place just weeks from now in Tennessee.

“I think you can do anything for a season,” Marti says, adding she’ll be glad when this season is over.

Marti had spent years working in ministry, but Melissa initially wanted nothing to do with full-time ministry. “I had seen it from both sides,” she says. Attending CHIC in 1994 changed that. During a worship service, speaker Ken Davis gave a call for people to come forward, and Melissa says she had an experience not to be forgotten.

Melissa was in her seat when she felt pushed from behind. She turned to one of her friends sitting behind her and said, “Nicole, quit pushing me.” Nicole and another friend both denied having pushed her.

Melissa then felt as if someone was pushing her down the aisle. “Down that little walk down the aisle, my heart changed 180 degrees,” Melissa recalls. “That experience has been so strong and so moving.”

Those few steps have turned into many with more ahead. “We couldn’t do it without our family,” Melissa says, with Marti echoing her full agreement.

The Annual Meeting was a memorable affair for the entire family: Steve Burger, director of the Covenant’s children and family ministries, prayed over his wife and daughter during the ordination service, and Fredrik Wall, Melissa’s husband, serves as the Annual Meeting coordinator.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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