On Saturday, August 27, 2016, Religious Institute president and CEO Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey was ordained as a pastor in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC). The Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the UFMCC, performed the Rite of Ordination. The Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, President Emerita of the Religious Institute, spoke about Marie’s call to ministry as the president of the Religious Institute, and representatives of many different communities presented her to be ordained. The service was held in St. John’s Chapel at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, long-recognized as a leading institution for educating justice-seeking religious leaders.
The event brought together friends, family, and colleagues from the many different communities of which Marie is or has been a part, including Episcopal Divinity School, The Crossing Boston, Trinity Episcopal Church in Hartford, Metropolitan Community Church in Hartford, and a number social justice activists and colleagues. “The joy of having all of these communities and people join together in worship, song, and table fellowship was beyond anything I could have imagined,” Marie said. “The best part was the way musicians Ana Hernández and Pat Michaels got the entire community energized and involved in singing, so that the worship was created by the gathered community. Creating community and nurturing relationships is central to my understanding of how to work for justice.”