Thursday, January 06, 2011

From Bankruptcy Trustee to Orthodox Priest

As a bankruptcy lawyer and trustee, Ronald Ingalls helped troubled debtors absolve their financial sins. As Father Methodios Ronald Ingalls, he will now be able to deal with sins of a broader nature. Today, on January 6, 2011, Ronald Ingalls was ordained to the Holy Priesthood of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. His story is one that shows that the distance between the sacred and the secular is often smaller than we imagine.

For Ron Ingalls, his sacred/legal journey began as he entered law school in 1985. It was at this time that he converted to the Orthodox faith. As a result, there was a strong connection between the law and Orthodoxy in his personal life.

He drew a parallel between his legal and priestly studies. He that, "It's not about you. It's about the client. Now I have the most important client of all."

He graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1988, served as a law clerk to Judge Glen Ayers, and became a chapter 7 panel trustee in 1994. As a trustee, he administered cases ranging from the missing atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair to bankrupt developer Gary Bradley.

He also drew parallels between his service as a trustee and a priest. He noted that in both instances, he was commissioned to act on behalf of someone who was not physically present. He also drew the parallel of trying to salvage something for everyone else.

Ron's ordination was a moving three hour service. For those not familiar with the Orthodox Church, it involved a lot of solemn ritual. The service took place on Theophany, which means appearance of God. The service remembers the baptism of Jesus by John and the holy spirit appearing in the shape of a dove. The service included hymns in Greek, Romanian and Arabic. It also included the blessing of the holy water. Shortly after the service, the Bishop and clergy went to bless Barton Springs.

Ron will return for a final semester in seminary and then will spend a year in a mission congregation in Fredericksburg.



Anita said...

Good article. We are all called to serve - it's just a matter of where we do it.

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Anonymous said...

Some will recall the story when I was sworn in many years ago. I invited my roommate from seminary to speak. Rev. Lee Rupert gave a great talk about callings, and noted that, as a matter of fact, both he and I would still be wearing robes in our respective callings. "Mine is white," he said, then paused for about three beats. It took a bit before finally there was some nervous laughter -- as there were arrayed on the bench a number of federal judges, including a Fifth Circuit judge.

Ron, may you have as much satisfaction in your chosen calling as I have had in mine. Do good.

Judge Leif Clark

George E. Bourguignon, Jr. Attorney at Law said...

Now that is quite a shift.