Looking back on my ordination order of service

Twenty years ago, on the nineteeth of September, the Canon Universalist Church ordained me to the Ministry of the Gospel.

I’m feeling a little nostalgic about it. Here is the order of service; I made it into a web page which I think was still something of a novelty back then.

The file has remained unchanged (and readable) all these years, though cleaned up for publication here.

Service of Ordination and Installation of William Scott Wells
Sunday, September 19, 1999
Three o’clock p.m.

Processional Hymn

Rank by rank again we stand,
From the four winds gathered hither
Loud the hallowed walls demand
Whence we come, and how and whither?
From their stillness breaking clear,
Echoes wake to warn or cheer.
Higher truth and holier good
Call our mustered brotherhood.

Ours the years’ memorial store,
Hero days and names we reckon;
Days of brethren gone before,
Lives that speak, and deeds that beckon.
One in name, in honour, one,
Guard we well the crown they won;
What they dreamed be ours to do,
Hope their hopes and seal them true.

Brother, if with lure unblest,
Tempter wise the past betray thee,
Rise once more to war addressed,
Fair the field, thy God to aid thee;
Lo! Once more the morn begins,
Scatters as the clouds thy sins;
Rise, and bid thy morrow slay
Shades or shames of yesterday.

Forward then to battle go,
Comrades sworn, one troth to render;
Life by fellow life upgrow,
Strong for war – for helping, tender:
Strong for war, whom Christ hath led,
Tender for whose weal he bled;
Pure, for mute above us moves
Wings of the Immortal Love.

Call to Worship
The Rev. Jack Pride

Rockwell Universalist Church, Winder

Ms. Kristin Felton

Canon Universalist Church


Greetings of the Georgia Universalist Convention

Greetings of the Mid-South District

Ms. Eunice Benton, Executive Director
Ms. Lyn Conley, President

Mr. Townley McGiffert, M.Div.

Intern, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens

For the Fund of the Living Tradition, which assists with ministerial education,
emergency ministerial relief, and pension assistance


The Rev. Clarence Stokes
Camden, South Carolina

Act of Ordination and Installation Mr. Charles Bowers
Moderator, Canon Universalist Church

Addressing the ordinand:

We desire to ordain you as our minister. We would have you dwell among us preaching the word of truth in freedom and in love; rebuking evil and maintaining righteousness; ministering to us alike in our joys and in our sorrows; setting the gospel in word and deed.

Turning to the congregation, the Moderator shall then say:

I now ask you, my fellow-worshippers, to rise and say with me:
We, the congregation of Canon Universalist Church do hereby ordain you, William Scott Wells, to the ministry of the Gospel, in accordance with the accepted usage of our free churches, and do install you as minister of this church. On our part, we solemnly pledge ourselves, so far as in us lies, to walk with you in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in all the ways of God, known or to be made known unto us.

, recited in unison by the congregation and whomsoever will.

The bond of fellowship in this church shall be a common purpose to do the will of God as Jesus revealed it and to co-operate in establishing the kingdom for which he lived and died.

To that end, we avow our faith in God as Eternal and All-conquering Love, in the spiritual leadership of Jesus, in the supreme worth of every human personality, in the authority of truth known or to be known, and in the power of persons of good-will and sacrificial spirit to overcome evil and progressively establish the Kingdom of God.

The Washington Declaration of 1935

The Ordinand’s Response

Friends: With a deep sense of responsibility, trusting not in my own strength, but in the grace and power of God, I take up the ministry to which you ordain me. I do pledge myself, so far as in me lieth, worthily to maintain the freedom of this pulpit; to speak the truth in love, both publicly and privately, without fear of persons; diligently to fulfill the several offices of worship, instruction and administration, according to the customs of this congregation and fellowship; and in all things so to live as to promote piety and righteousness, peace and love among this people and with all men.

Prayer of Ordination
The Rev. Daniel King

Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta

Laying On of Hands
The Rev. Lauralyn Bellamy, leading

Roswell, Georgia


With heavenly power, O Lord, defend
Him whom we now to thee commend;
His person bless, his faith secure,
And make him to the end endure.

Gird him with all-sufficient grace;
Direct his feet in paths of peace;
Thy truth and faithfulness fulfill,
And help him to obey thy will.

Before him thy protection send;
O love him, save him to the end!
Nor let him, as thy pilgrim, rove
Without the convoy of thy love.

Enlarge, inform, and fill his heart;
In him thy mighty power exert;
That thousands yet unborn may praise
The wonders of redeeming grace.

Hymn used at the Ordination of the Rev. David H. Porter, in 1839, who was the first Universalist minister ordained in Georgia

Right Hand of Fellowship
Charge to the Ordinand
The Rev. Terre Balof

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens

Charge to the Congregation
The Rev. Daniel Weck
Pomaria, South Carolina

The Rev. William Scott Wells

Accompanist: Dr. Herschal V. Beasley, Jr., Americus, Georgia

Clergy Marshall: The Rev. Heather Collins, Unitarian Universalist Church of Lawrenceville

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