Waynesburg University's Roberts Chapel recently hosted an ordination and installation service for the Rev. Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton as the director of Waynesburg University's Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership and a minister of the Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Tom Ribar, Waynesburg University chaplain, issued words of welcome and a call to worship for the very special service. Ribar quoted Psalm 46 verse 10, “Be still and know that I am God,” to illustrate God's hand in Stratton's journey to ministry.
Stratton was surrounded by his colleagues, friends and family as he received the traditional “Laying on of Hands” ceremony and accepted the charge to guide Waynesburg University in the way of Jesus Christ.
“It was a very special experience to be surrounded by so many people from the Waynesburg University community, along with my family and many friends and colleagues from the past,” Stratton said. “During the service, I looked forward toward the pulpit and lectern; only when I stood up after kneeling for the laying on of hands and after greeting the many Ministers and Elders did I look toward the congregation and see how many wonderful people were there.”
The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes, Senior Pastor of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, preached a message entitled “The Great Temptations of Scholarship” in which he outlined the challenges that Stratton will face as a newly ordained minister. One temptation, Barnes said, is to satisfy the educational hunger of students.
“As a professor, and now a minister, resist the opportunity to fill the hunger of students. God created them to be hungry,” Barnes said. “You are to nurture this hunger and to help your students and your colleagues ask better questions about the world.”
Waynesburg University's Lamplighters sang two anthems, “Sicut Cervus,” by Giovanni P. Palestrina and “My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord,” by Moses Hogan, under the direction of Melanie Catana, director of choral music at Waynesburg University. University faculty, staff and trustees, as well as University President Timothy Thyreen and his wife, Mrs. Carolyn Thyreen, attended to show their support.
“It is a constant inspiration for me to be part of Waynesburg University's endeavor of being a Christian institution dedicated to the pursuit of truth and service, especially as my academic and spiritual path to Waynesburg began almost two decades ago,” Stratton said.
The Rev. Dr. Donald P. Wilson, interim executive presbyter at Washington Presbytery, conducted the prayer of ordination and the “Laying on of Hands” ceremony. Wilson charged the University to hold strong to its anchor in the Lord and to welcome Stratton with open arms. In the same prayer, he called Stratton to be an example of Christ in Waynesburg University's classrooms and hallways.
“We live in a broken time; to accept a call to ministry at a time such as this could be frightening,” Wilson said. “The University accepts Stratton at a time such as this to continue a mission of faith, serving and learning.”