Humility and service central themes at Ordinations
SATURDAY 28 JUNE saw the ordination of five new priests at a service in Truro Cathedral, following the ordination of five deacons the previous evening.
In his sermon, Bishop Chris referred to the Gospel reading from John 20. 19-23, in which the risen Christ appears to his fearful disciples in a locked room and makes it clear to them that things will never be the same again – that through the power of the Holy Spirit their lives will be given shape, energy and purpose, and the strength to persevere.
“And here, in the morning of this day, we arrive at another moment of significance,” said Bishop Chris. “Jesus is here among us, as he promised, and we know that the lives of Heather and Jane and Peter and Deborah and John will change today. No wonder that, with them, we feel anticipation, excitement and yes, anxiety.
“Those gathered were uncertain, anxious and confused; conscious more than anything of their inadequacies and weaknesses,” he continued. “And, believe it or not, that is always the right place to start when contemplating Christian ministry.
“We may live in a society where we are told ‘You’re a winner!’ and urged to ‘believe in yourself!’ but on this day the best way to embark on Christian ministry is in humility and dependency upon him who calls us and equips us. It is in our weakness that God’s strength shines most brightly.
“So Heather, Jane, Peter, Deborah and John, know that you are loved, know that you are chosen, know that feeling inadequate is an essential qualification for the task before you. Know that it is in your weakness and humility that God’s Holy Spirit is most free to inspire you.
“Know that you are being sent because he loves those to whom you will minister. And this day open your hearts and minds to receive the gift of his Holy Spirit and continue obedient and faithful to his call upon you to serve him and his people as priests.”
In her address to the new deacons the previous evening, Archdeacon Audrey had also emphasised the twin themes of humility and service. In a passing reference to the television programme, ‘Who do you think you are?’ she suggested that now was a good time for them – and their family and friends in the congregation – to examine their true identity.
“To help you begin to address this question, I’d like to introduce everyone here to a different concept of identity,” she said, “a concept I discovered in the writings of Timothy Radcliffe, a former Master of the Dominican Order.
“The concept is this: that we only discover our true identity in responding to God’s call. Radcliffe suggests we only discover who we really are when we answer God’s call to share in his life of love, of mercy, of generosity and of service.
For Angela, Alison, Claire, Elly and James, God’s calling has led you to this point of ordination as a Deacon. Whatever else God may have in store for you, whatever else he may call you to – you will remain a Deacon – God’s servant – serving Him, His Church, His people.
“What this doesn’t mean is that you can get dumped with all the jobs your Incumbent, your Churchwardens and your PCC don’t want to do – you’re all in this together! Neither does it mean that your true identity is to be found in being called ‘The Reverend Whoever’, nor in bits of white plastic or stoles or robes.
“But rather, you will continue to discover your true identity the more you listen to God calling your name, the more you respond to his call, the more you live out that calling in the particular communities in which he sets you, and the more you follow in the footsteps of the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ.”
PRIESTS ORDAINED ON SATURDAY 28 JUNE
- Heather Jane Aston serving in the benefice of Meneage
- Jane Bradbury serving in the benefice of Helston & Wendron
- Peter Graham Butterfield serving in the benefice of Gulval & Madron
- John Christopher Jukes serving in the benefice of Saltash
- Deborah Ann Grigg to serve in the benefice of Bodmin with Lanhydrock & Lanlivet.
DEACONS ORDAINED ON FRIDAY 27 JUNE
- Angela Brown to serve in the parishes of Redruth with Lanner & Treleigh
- Alison Jane Hardy to serve in the parishes of Stratton & Launcells
- James Luke Hills to serve in the parish of Kea
- Claire McIlroy to serve in the parishes of Anthony with Sheviock & Torpoint
- Elly Sheard to serve in the parishes of the Eight Saints Cluster