2008-06-27 / Community

Historic Ordination At First Congregational Church

By Vivian Rattay Carter Special To The Wave

Participants were thrilled by a dramatic reading of the anti-war poem "There's Only One Thing To Do," by German author Wolfgang Borchert, delivered by the talented Deborah Rowe of the Rockaway congregation. Participants were thrilled by a dramatic reading of the anti-war poem "There's Only One Thing To Do," by German author Wolfgang Borchert, delivered by the talented Deborah Rowe of the Rockaway congregation. He arrived at JFK Airport in July 2006, clutching two suitcases and a German-English dictionary. He also carried his passion to serve in the U.S. as a Christian minister; his twin missions to promote faith and social justice through his work.

The Rev. Peter Dennebaum's journey from the airport that day took him to the sandy shores of Rockaway Beach, where he served as interim pastor of the First Congregational Church for a year, and then, to the leafy, prosperous northern suburbs of New York City, where he presently serves as Associate Minister for Christian Education and Outreach at the First Congregational Church of Chappaqua.

Sunday, June 22, Dennebaum returned to First Congregational Church of Rockaway Beach, and over 100 congregants of that church and several others, including his home church in Chappaqua, St. Alban's Congregational Church, Garden City Community Church, Union Congregational of Manhattan, and All Souls Bethlehem of Brooklyn, joined together to celebrate his ordination as a minister of the United Church of Christ. A truly historic event, this was the first ordination ever conducted at First Congregational Church, one of the earliest houses of worship in the Rockaways, established more than 120 years ago. An Open and Affirming Member of the United Church of Christ, First Congregational Church is located at 320 Beach 94 Street in Rockaway Beach. For more information about the church, you may contact Pastor Joseph Medlin by calling 718- 634-4701, e-mailing to firstcongregational@ earthlink.net, or visiting the website www.first-congregational.com.

In a particularly moving moment, the ceremonial "laying on of the hands," signifying Christian ordination, was led by Caine and joined in by the entire assembled congregation forming a human chain. All photos by Tom Martinez. In a particularly moving moment, the ceremonial "laying on of the hands," signifying Christian ordination, was led by Caine and joined in by the entire assembled congregation forming a human chain. All photos by Tom Martinez. During the service, young Taj Johnson of FCC-Rockaway played a piano arrangement of John Lennon's song, "Imagine." During the service, young Taj Johnson of FCC-Rockaway played a piano arrangement of John Lennon's song, "Imagine." For the communion service, led jointly by Pastor Joseph Medlin of the Rockaway church (left center) and Dennebaum (right center), the congregation gathered in an enormous circle inside the church. For the communion service, led jointly by Pastor Joseph Medlin of the Rockaway church (left center) and Dennebaum (right center), the congregation gathered in an enormous circle inside the church.

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