Ordination Gift
May 20, 2005 1:22 AM   Subscribe

A friend is becoming ordained as a full pastor in the methodist church this spring. He currently is a pastor of a small congregation, of which I am not a member. Any ideas on an appropriate gift? There is a group of five of us who would like to chip in between $30-$60 US and buy something together.
posted by barrista to Religion & Philosophy (15 answers total)
I'm surprised I'm answering this, considering how foreign this subject is to me: have you considered a nice Presentation Bible?
posted by pjern at 4:18 AM on May 20, 2005

Early Christian artefacts. Oil lamp, Roman glass, Byzantine cross - that sort of thing.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:20 AM on May 20, 2005

*Vestments or pieces thereof? Do Methodists do that, or are they a coat-and-tie denomination?
*A nice desk bust of John Wesley.
*Amazon card; he'll have books and videos to be buying and you won't have a good idea which ones are good and which ones he has. Personalize it with a nice letter.

You might consider calling his seminary, asking for whoever the head of pastoral education (or whatever) is, and asking *them* to speak to a prof who knows your friend well as a minister to get a better idea. Or speak to your local Methodist congregation or minister to get a sense of what might be appropriate and/or really welcomed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:26 AM on May 20, 2005

I mean, call the head of pastoral education, and ask them for the name/ph # of a prof, and then you call the prof. Just finishing coffee, me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:27 AM on May 20, 2005

How about a very nice tea/coffee set? Don't pastors do a lot of tea drinking with their flock?
posted by biffa at 5:38 AM on May 20, 2005

Vestments in the Methodist church are a church by church thing. Depends on the minister, as well, and sometimes on the service. In general, the more formal the church, the more likely the minister is to wear vestments. Even in a less formal church, the minister is likely to wear vestments on major holy days. (Conversely, in more formal churches, the minister will often skip vestments in the summer, or at outdoor services.)

Having said that, a robe and stole would certainly not be inappropriate, as he will probably have a use for them; if not at the church he's at now, at the next one. And a choice of vestments is always nice. Perhaps you could contact the secretary at his church to find out if the congregation is getting him anything, if only so you don't duplicate it. :)

I would ask my pastor, but she's off at the District Annual Conference this weekend.
posted by jlkr at 5:51 AM on May 20, 2005

Methodist, eh? I think a nice decanter for his spirit-of-choice with a few glasses might be appreciated. Alcohol is not on their abstinence-only list. A nice dart board that hides in a cabinet, suitable for his office, where he can hang photos of his choice of church ladies. A spray can labeled "Pest-be-Gone" (for use on same church ladies, who will drive him mad). Make up a fun label, put it on a can of Niagara Spray Starch (suited for white clerical collars which UMC dudes only sometimes wear).

A lovely gold charm/medallion of "UMC", which may or may not stand for United Methodist Church.

A set of mouth-sized smile stickers, for those times when he must smile, but doesn't feel like it.

(disclaimer: Goofyy was raised Methodist and was a very active member growing up, since he sang, and his mother was the organist)
posted by Goofyy at 6:05 AM on May 20, 2005

Yeah, no Bibles and no Book of Worship, please. Stoles would be nice, but that's the kind of thing that only works really well if you know your friend really well (and more specifically, if you know what kind of stoles he already has so you don't run the risk of duplication).

If you want something a bit more personal than Amazon but that still manages the maximum possible usefulness, go with a gift certificate from Cokesbury, which is the bookstore that supplies official supplies and resources for the UMC. I know that people are sometimes hesitant to give gift certificates, but trust me--it will be appreciated.
posted by ChrisTN at 6:12 AM on May 20, 2005

You could also consider giving him something that's not about work... just something fun. Like an iPod or something. Pastors have to relax, too.
posted by paschke at 6:15 AM on May 20, 2005

Well. there is always the GodPod. :)

With lots of folks around me in seminary (I live 2 blocks from one, many relatives and pals are Pastors or Pastors-In-Training), I can second the gift certificate from Cokesbury or Amazon idea. Subscription to Sojourners.

If you were me, you would combine a gift certificate with a kitschy/funny gift like this, this or this. But, you're not me and I married a PK (pastor's kid) so my sense of humor tilts to the very irreverant. I also love these...but they aren't for the faint of heart.
posted by jeanmari at 6:50 AM on May 20, 2005

I was going to suggest Cokesbury, but I see ChrisTN (and, on preview, jeanmarie) beat me to it. My dad is a (retired) Methodist minister, and always bought stuff from Cokesbury. You should be able to find something nice there. If you're lost about what might be appropriate, you can e-mail me, though I'm not sure how mich insight I can provide.

A nice copy of C.S. Lewis's works might be nice, if your friend is more of the intellectual than fire-and-brimstone type.
posted by arco at 6:53 AM on May 20, 2005

A good first rate set of reference books like the Anchor Bible Dictonary or the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible can be invaluable for writing sermons, if your friend is more the scholarly-type preacher.

But he may or may not have these, so it would be good to check, first, if possible.
posted by dersins at 7:59 AM on May 20, 2005

Make a donation to his congregation. I've found that ministers/priests/rabbis are hesitant about receiving personal gifts. Maybe donate to a charity in his name or give his congregation money to direct to a worthy cause.
posted by Jon-o at 11:36 AM on May 20, 2005

If he's a rare book kind of guy, try and hunt down some really old Wesley hymn book or something...

I'd stay away from more mainstream bibles or reference works (who knows what the church he'll end up at [or stay at] already has in that department)--unless it's really obscure and neat.
posted by hototogisu at 12:32 PM on May 20, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you all!! Wonderful suggestions!
posted by barrista at 8:23 AM on May 21, 2005

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