A beautiful, late summer evening in Hope, BC was the time and location for the Induction of the 21st Rector of the venerable Parish of Christ Church, Monday, September 11, 2017. The Reverend Miranda Ophelia Sutherland was joyfully installed by Bishop Melissa Skelton as the incumbent of the delighted faith community.
The 156 year old church was filled to capacity with parishioners, friends (including two friends of Rev. Sutherland who had travelled by ferry and by car to attend), 18 clergy from around the diocese and well-wishers from the City of Hope.
Reverend Sutherland comes to Christ Church after two years of ministry in the Diocese of Edmonton. She is a Jamaican and grew up in a Christian home with her parents and siblings. After attending the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica, and Florida International University in the US she answered the call to ministry and on completion of the Supplementary Ministry Training Program she was ordained Deacon in 2009, and Priest in 2011, in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
More information about Reverend Sutherland’s academic and ministry career will be available in the November issue of Topic, the publication of the Diocese of New Westminster.
Reverend Sutherland has her daughter Rhonda, a PhD student at the University of Alberta and son-in-law Andre, Electrical Engineer, close by living and working in Edmonton while her son, Donald still lives in Jamaica working and studying at UWI.
The preacher for the Celebration of a New Ministry Eucharist was the Reverend Allan Carson, Regional Dean of Valley and the Rector of St. John’s, Sardis, one of Christ Church’s neighbouring parishes. In his homily that focused on the Gospel reading, John 14:11-15 , Rev. Carson compared the induction to a wedding. He said:
“At a wedding and at an induction service we arrive at a place where we say God has brought us to this place. In both cases, with a wedding and with an induction service everyone has been praying and working to get to this place. Often then it feels like we have arrived at our destination. But the place we have arrived is actually the starting line not the destination…This evening we gather together to make the proclamation that God has brought us to this place and that this place is a joyous place of new life and loving relationships, this place is an answer to prayer. There might be a few of you thinking yes Miranda is God’s answer to our prayer. Let me relieve Miranda’s anxiety over such a thought and burst your bubble and up your anxiety. This gathering, this worship, is actually the answer to your prayers. It is also the starting place, the starting place of going out into the world to share all that God has done for us, so that God will be glorified. We are celebrating the work of God. We do that together, everyone gathered here has a role to play revealing the glory of God in Christ.”
Following the Covenant in Ministry, the Presentation of the Symbols of Ministry of the Whole People of God by members of the congregation, the Presentation of the New Rector, and of course the central focus of worship, the Eucharist, Reverend Sutherland went to the lectern and continued the sermon theme, thanking everyone for being part of her “wedding ceremony”. She said that she is privileged to share this ministry with Bishop Melissa Skelton. Reverend Sutherland thanked the members of the parish who have welcomed her and participated in facilitating her arrival in Hope but could not be present at the Monday evening liturgy. She admitted that some tears had been shed regarding the absence of her children and her son-in-law who she would have dearly loved to have in attendance. Reverend Sutherland then called up the members of the Canonical Committee and presented each of them with a gift. She then brought out a large purple orchid and asked that parishioner Bruce Keller come to the front to make the presentation of the flower to Bishop Skelton.
After the singing of the Closing Hymn, “Lord, You Give the Great Commission”, and the Dismissal there were many photographs taken and then the faith community of Christ Church, Hope, friends, visitors and clergy of the diocese adjourned to the parish hall for a reception.
Please keep the Reverend Miranda Sutherland and the Parish of Christ Church, Hope in your prayers as they move forward in ministry together.