by Stephen Sather
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 Spring
Ron will return for a final semester in seminary and then will spend a year in a mission congregation in Fredericksburg.
Fr. Ryan+ says
My wife and I live in Lockhart, and are in Fredericksburg several times a year – how do we get in touch with Fr. Ron?
Fr. John says
I would contact the Antiochian Church there in Fredericksburg. Give him our very best when we speak with him!
Anthony Mahon says
Father “Ron”?? Are’nt Orthodox Christian clergy expected to take a Saint’s name when they are ordained? Just curious.
Fr. John says
Yes – but sometimes they continue to be called their given name. My associate priest is Fr. William John Clark, but everyone – as I am also Fr. John – calls him “Fr. Bill.”
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Isaac Crabtree (@icrabtree) says
This nicknaming of clergy is a distinctly American usage. Most people from various Orthodox countries would not dream of nicknaming someone as “Fr. Ted” “Fr. Doug”.
A friend of mine has an adult son who, at a monastery, called one of the monks, “Fr. Dan.” People in close relationship with married clergy, this might be understandable with their blessing, but to do so with monks? We have a long way to go in America!