Warden, Raili Mazurek welcomed the congregation prior to the procession and he let them know that the Celebration of New Ministry that was about to occur does indeed mark the beginning of a fresh page in the history of St. John the Evangelist, North Vancouver, but it also marks the end of a four year journey to get to “this place” and he shared that for him, “tonight is quite a relief.”
The preacher for the liturgy was The Very Reverend Peter Elliott, Dean of the Diocese of New Westminster and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral. Following graduation from VST in 2008, Patrick was appointed by Bishop Michael, curate at Christ Church Cathedral. He remained there for two years until receiving an interim Priest-in-Charge placement at St. Thomas, East Vancouver in September of 2010.
Dean Peter began his sermon by repeating a verse from the second reading, Romans 12: 1-18,
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
He went on to explore this verse, explaining to the congregation that long before creeds, doctrines and the spread of Christianity around the world small groups of disciples of Jesus “living in communities clustered around the Mediterranean were simply known as followers of the way.”
The way was the path travelled by people of the way who understood “how the dying and rising of Christ connected with your own internal transformation.” Following the way means that we fix “attention on God—and being transformed from the inside out. That’s what it means to be a follower of Jesus, what it means to be part of the community of the way.
Later in his sermon Dean Peter gave examples of the pitfalls of “the institutional demands of organized religion” and how easy it is to lose the authenticity of the way.
In his view Patrick will bring new and different ideas. He knows how to get things done, “he plays well with others.” Through the shared ministry that is celebrated tonight this will not be a church as only an institution but a place where Christian practices and the transformative love of God is present." The people of St. John’s will need to model the way in how they interact with the world around them, to show compassion to the sick, the poor, those in need.
Please click the link to download DEAN PETER'S SERMON NOTES.
The next section of the liturgy was the Covenant in Ministry. Following the usual procedure where the Bishop asks the new Priest and the congregation if they commit themselves to the responsibility of shared ministry, Bishop Michael addressed the congregation. He told them that the Deanery of North Vancouver is leading the diocese as a place where churches have become worshipping centres contained within one larger community. Patrick’s appointment as member of the Regional Deanery Ministry Team is a manifestation of this new way of doing ministry on a regional scale. Bishop Michael asked that the representatives of the North Vancouver Regional Council and Ministry Team present approach the chancel area. Clergy (including the Archdeacon of Capilano and the Regional Dean of North Vancouver) and laity of the Regional Council moved to the front and presented Patrick with the North Vancouver Deanery Regional Plan. Then it was time for members of the parish to present the symbols of shared ministry to Patrick: The Bible, vessel of water, canons of the diocese, the keys to the buildings, prayer books, hymn books, Sunday School curricula and finally the bread and wine of the Eucharist.