Celebration of New Ministries @ Evensong
October 5, 2017
The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, aka Cathedral Choir has the reputation of being one of the finest church choirs in Canada. In order to continue their commitment to leading music in worship at the cathedral church of the diocese of New Westminster, Director of Music, Rupert Lang, the choir and clergy have recently initiated a liturgy titled SUNDAYS @ THREE – The Cathedral Choir Celebrates the Liturgical Year.
The liturgy for the October 1, 2017 edition was Evensong, a traditional Anglican worship experience pretty much removed from standard church practice in North America by the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960s and 1970s. And this particular Evensong contained repertoire focused on the recent Michaelmas (The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, September 29) and included a Celebration of New Ministries of three recently hired Cathedral staff and three recently appointed Cathedral clergy: Vanessa Ho, Finance Administrator; Alberto Jaramillo, Hospitality and Food Coordinator; Anne Kessler, Children, Youth and Families Ministries Coordinator; the Reverend Jeffrey Preiss, Deacon at Christ Church Cathedral; the Reverend Ross Bliss, Assistant Curate at Christ Church Cathedral; the Reverend Helen Dunn, Vicar of Christ Church Cathedral.
The liturgy began with Jacob Handl’s transcendent Duo Seraphim, followed by Opening Prayers led by Officiant, the Dean and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Reverend Peter Elliott:
“With St. Michael and all the angels we pray for God’s people everywhere and ask that we be made instruments of God’s peace” to which the congregation responded, “where there is hatred , let us bring love, where there is discord, let us bring union and where there is despair, let us bring hope.”
The two canticles, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis were sung by the choir to settings composed by Cathedral Organist/Director of Music, Rupert Lang, and the Versicles and Responses, those traditional lines facilitating evening prayer were the work of former Cathedral Organist/Director of Music, Patrick Wedd. Soprano soloist, Emily Cheung was the principal cantor for the liturgy.
The First Lesson, Genesis 28: 10-17 was read by actor, Bernard Cuffling and the Second Lesson from Luke’s Gospel, 5: 1-11 was proclaimed by retired Cathedral Choir chorister and librarian, Lynda Catchpole.
The Reverend Clara King of the Diocese of Calgary was the guest preacher. Dean Peter Elliott introduced Rev. King to the congregation pointing out that she had presided that morning at her parish in Calgary prior to making her way to the airport and boarding a plane for Vancouver to be present that afternoon. Rev. King began her homily by saying, “I invited myself to be your guest preacher this afternoon…Helen is one of my dearest friends and we are very sad to lose her in the Diocese of Calgary but we are delighted that she has this great opportunity.” Rev. King promised to share information about “this wonderful person you have hired” but first she embarked on a thoughtful exegesis of the Gospel passage from Luke where we see Jesus helping some fishermen aim their lives in a new and more hopeful direction and Peter casting his nets and “opening his heart.”
Rev. King said, “Helen is ready to cast her nets over the side and do whatever it takes for you…Helen has a heart like Peter…she is one of those people we meet in life who is generous-hearted enough to listen to ideas and to take risks…Helen Dunn opens incredible space for God to work…she is humble and she is curious about what can happen next.”
Following the sermon the choir created space for prayer and reflection offering Edward Bairstow’s Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. At the conclusion of the anthem, the liturgy for the celebration of new ministries began, Dean Elliott said, “It is our purpose now to welcome, acknowledge and pray for Vanessa, Alberto, Anne, Jeffrey, Ross and Helen as they begin their various ministries at Christ Church Cathedral.
Each staff member was presented to the congregation by lay and clergy leaders of the cathedral ministries most closely connected to the work of that individual and they were asked by Dean Elliott, “Do you in the presence of God and this congregation promise to undertake the responsibilities with which you have been entrusted?” to which the three each in turn answered, “I do, the Lord being my helper.”
The Regional Dean of Kingsway and Rector of St. James’, the Reverend Kevin Hunt led the prayers for the newly received staff members.
Then it was time for the presentation and installation of the clergy. The Venerable Douglas Fenton, Executive Archdeacon described the process for the appointments of Deacon Jeffrey Preiss, the Reverend Ross Bliss as Assistant Curate and the Reverend Helen Dunn as Vicar of Christ Church Cathedral. Reverend Dunn received Bishop Skelton’s license to serve as priest at the Cathedral and as priest in the Diocese of New Westminster so it was necessary for her to read aloud and sign the Oath of Loyalty to the Bishop and also for Archdeacon Fenton to read her license aloud to the congregation and clergy.
As with the new staff, lay leaders (wardens and canonical committee chair) presented each of the new clergy and following the examination by Dean Elliott, prayers were led by Rev. Hunt. With the formalities completed, Archdeacon Fenton presented the six and invited all those present to welcome them with applause.
Prior to the singing of the Offertory Hymn the appropriate How Clear is Our Vocation, Lord, the Prayers and Blessing and the Closing Hymn selected for Michaelmas, Angel Voices Ever Singing, Archdeacon Fenton led the congregation in the following prayer:
Gracious God, we ask you to bless all the ministries of your Church. We thank you for the variety of gifts you have bestowed upon us. Draw us together in one Spirit, that each of us may use our differing gifts as members of one body. May your Word be proclaimed with faithfulness, and may we be doers of your Word and not hearers only. As we who have died and risen with Christ in baptism gather and are sent into the world, may we be one in service to others, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
- New Cathedral Vicar, the Reverend Helen Dunn reads the Oath in the presence of Executive Archdeacon of the Diocese of New Westminster, the Venreable G. Douglas Fenton, DD
- Cathedral Choir under the direction of Rupert Lang
- Guest preacher from the Diocese of Calgary, the Reverend Clara King, a dear friend of new Cathedral Vicar, the Reverend Helen Dunn.
- Following the presentation of the six to the congregation and inviting their welcome, Archdeacon Fenton leads the congregation in prayer.