Spring is a time for renewal. As we enjoy the trees and plants creating their new beginnings and watch the new buds form and flowers appear, we are fully aware that a new season has begun.
This is also true for our women’s groups and sisterhoods looking forward to their new leaders. For many, it might be the first time being part of a Board, and for others, it might be renewing their commitment as leaders. At the start of the new season, it is time to acknowledge these dedicated women who have donated their time, effort, energy, and money. They need to know that they are appreciated for what they have done and will continue to do. Each woman is important for the contribution made to her group. Therefore, the Installation Service should validate the importance of these women and the important work they have undertaken.
Here is the format for an Installation Service I created for Women of Temple Chai, Long Grove, Illinois:
1. Installation Readings: Look for readings or poems that can enhance the Installation Service. Readings can be obtained from WRJ Covenant Books or WRJ Gift of Prayer. If there is a theme that your sisterhood uses throughout the year, it can be incorporated into the service as well.
2. Recognize Your Past Presidents: Identify them by name, ask them to stand and read a few lines from the poem, or encourage responsive reading with the congregation. They can be seated when they have completed their reading.
3. Recognize Outgoing Board Members: They can stand when their name and position they held is read. Thank them for their dedicated service and contribution. A reading could be used here, too.
4. Install the Incoming Board: Acknowledge them by name and position have them stand and read a passage or prayer together or do a responsive reading with the group. When they finish, they can be seated.
5. Install Executive Committee: Have the Installing Officer read a meaningful part before reading their names and positions. Ask them to rise when they hear their name. Reading a passage by the group would work well here. Then, they can be seated.
6. Install the Incoming President: If the President is continuing her term, ask the Executive Committee and the Incoming Board to stand and take a pledge as one large group. Then, they can all be seated. If the President is beginning her first term, ask her to come forward. Then, the Immediate Past President can give her the President’s pin and gavel. At this time, the President, the Executive Committee, and Incoming Board can rise and recite their pledge.
7. Recognize the Outgoing President: Invite the Incoming President to make a few comments, including a presentation to the Outgoing President with the Past President’s pin (and an optional gift of appreciation from the past Board).
8. Invite Clergy to the Service: Invite the clergy to attend and say a blessing or a prayer for the new Officers and Board members.
9. Add music: The service is always enriched by music, such as a Debbie Friedman’s song or the WRJ Anthem to close.
10. Invite a District Installing Officer: Your District’s President, District’s First Vice President, or a District Area Director may want to join your service. Explain the run of service and give her a list of Incoming/Outgoing Board members and Past Presidents of the group. Go over the pronunciation of any of the names that may give her trouble. Ask for the Installing Officer’s biography to include when introducing her at the beginning of the service.
This service does not have to be long to convey the importance of the event. Remember, your goal is to inspire, validate, and give thanks to the retiring board for all their past work. Also, it gives credibility to the leaders who are “stepping up” to keep their women’s group successful. It is a new beginning for the group, filled with the hope of creating and accomplishing a positive future. The seeds have been planted, and the buds are formed. The flowers will bloom and flourish throughout the year, with your women’s group looking forward to a new year of leadership.