It is not every day that a minister is ordained in a public university medical center.
The Rev. Malcolm L. Marler, D.Min., was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church at UAB Hospital on Wednesday, January 15th at 4:00 p.m. in the North Pavilion atrium of the hospital. The public was invited.
Marler has been a Chaplain at UAB for twenty years, presently as the Director of Pastoral Care at UAB since 2009, and at The 1917 Clinic at UAB as a Chaplain from 1994-2009.
The Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, prefers to ordain new priests in the parish or congregation where he or she will be serving. Since this is where Marler serves full-time, he asked Malcolm if he could have the service in the hospital.
“I thought, well, UAB Hospital is my parish or my church,” said Marler. “I think of our employees as members of a large congregation, and our patients and families as our guests where we show hospitality.”
“Hospitality is the relationship between the guest and the host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. This includes the reception and entertainment (or comfort making) of guests, visitors, or strangers.” (Wikipedia) Hospitals were originally places of hospitality.
“UAB Hospital is a wonderful place where we, as chaplains, meet people where they are regardless of faith background in some of the most challenging times of their lives. We try to walk alongside persons to remind them they are loved and are not alone. I hope it will be an opportunity for others to learn more about the role of chaplaincy (pastoral care) as a member of the interdisciplinary medical team that offers compassion and healing in this place,” Marler said.
Malcolm was first ordained in a different Christian denomination more than 30 years ago. He and his wife, Mary Bea Sullivan, joined the Episcopal Church in 2008. Each denomination has its own requirements for ordination of its own clergy. “We are all on a spiritual journey and this has been a natural journey for me to be ordained in the church where I am now a member even though I have been a clergy person for many years.” Marler’s father and grandfather were also pastors in Alabama.
The public is invited, and people may come and go during the approximate one hour service. It will be held on the second floor in the North Pavilion atrium in the busiest corridor of the largest hospital in the state of Alabama. “It will be among the people, where our ministry happens every day. I hope persons will stop by and stand or sit, even if for a few moments.”
What: Ordination of a Priest in the Episcopal Church
Where: UAB Hospital, North Pavilion Atrium, Second Floor
When: Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
Who: Open to the public