Approximately 80 clergy of the Diocese of New Westminster and an equal number of the laity gathered at 12:10pm, Tuesday, March 27 for the "Blessing of Holy Oils - Reaffirmation of Baptismal and Ordination Vows" Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral.
Former Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC/Yukon and the VIIth Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, the Most Reverend Douglas Hambidge was the preacher. Archbishop Hambidge spoke about servanthood and shared his gratitude for having the priviledge to serve.
Bishop Melissa Skelton was the Celebrant.
Prior to the procession, the Very Reverend Peter Elliott, dean of the diocese and rector of Christ Church Cathedral welcomed the congregation and provided the acknowledgement that the worship was taking place on the Anscestral Lands of the Coast Salish First Nations. He also added a special welcome to two visiting bishops; Bishop Richard Llewellin, retired Bishop of Dover and former Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishop Terry Dance, retired suffragan bishop (Norfolk) in the Diocese of Huron.
Bishop Llewellin is visiting the Diocese of New Westminster as the guest preacher at St. Stephen's, West Vancouver and Bishop Dance is the Holy Week 2018 guest preacher at Christ Church Cathedral.
Following the sermon by Archbishop Hambidge, Bishop Skelton led the congregation in the Renewal of Baptismal and Ordination Vows, this was followed by The Peace, The Offertory and The Eucharist and then the Concluding Rite & Blessing of Chrism & Unction.
The Oils were processed in by the Reverend Elizabeth Mathers, deacon to Salal+Cedar Watershed Discipleship Ministry and St. Clement's, Lynn Valley; the Reverend Melanie Calabrigo, gathering priest at St. Hildegard's Sanctuary and priest associate at St. Faith's, Vancouver and the Reverend Steve Bailey, deacon at St. Aidan and St. Bartholomew (St. Bart's), Gibsons Landing during the singing of "Blest by the sun, the olive tree." These three clergy are all connected to the preparation of the Holy Oils.
The anointing oils were wildcrafted by Salal + Cedar Watershed Discipleship Community and St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary Community.
Métis herbalist Lori Snyder guided the process of gathering and preparing the local medicinal plants used to infuse the chrism. All plants used are native to Coast Salish Territory.
A fair trade Palestinian olive oil (Zatoun) was chosen for the base oil.
This is the second consecutive year that the Chrism and Unction have been prepared in this manner.
Prior to blessing the oils, Bishop Skelton offered the following words:
"Dear Friends in Christ: At his baptism Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, the same Spirit we are annointed with in our baptism, making us a holy people in the royal priesthood of the new convenant. Also the apostles anointed the sick, and through God's grace drove away illness of body and spirit and opened the way to new life and health."
Following the Dismissal by the Reverend Anne Anchor, deacon of the word and table, a buffet lunch was served in the cathedral's chancel, food prepared by Bette Geddes and Association Catering. Bishop Skelton retired to the westside chancel prayer alcove and a very long line formed in front of her of clergy and lay desiring a blessing from their bishop.