Approximately 20 gathered in the sanctuary of Christ Church Cathedral for the Education for Ministry (EfM) Graduation Eucharist at 7pm, Monday, June 14. The liturgy was livestreamed by cathedral staff through the cathedral’s livestreaming platforms. Due to COVID-19 there had not been an EfM graduation event in the diocese for almost two years.
Those present at the liturgy included: the Reverend Paula Porter Leggett, Diocesan Coordinator for EfM who welcomed the congregation both onsite and online and led the music in worship; the Christ Church Cathedral EfM group’s co-mentors, Dr. James Berger and Mr. Ken Peppin presented their graduates to the bishop and led the Prayers of the People; Christ Church Cathedral EfM group graduate, Mr. George Lawson was the reader; Deacon of the Word was the Reverend Juanita Clark a 2019 graduate from the Christ Church Cathedral’s EfM group and the preacher and presider was Bishop John Stephens.
Including the Reverend Clark there were eight of nine graduates present to receive their diplomas from Bishop Stephens. The other seven graduates were from the 2020 and 2021 program cycles. Reverend Clark was ordained to the diaconate in 2018, completed a 16 month placement at St. John’s, North Vancouver at the end of 2019 and since March of 2020 has been in ministry as deacon to the chaplain, the Reverend Bryan Rivers on the Spiritual Care Team and Vancouver General Hospital. Thanks to the generosity of the diocesan Anglican Church Women, Rev. Clark is registered for the Clinical Pastoral Experience (CPE) program scheduled to begin in the fall of 2021.
Leah Skuro is now the Reverend Leah Skuro having been ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Melissa Skelton June 20, 2020. Raised up for ordination by the Parish of All Saints, Burnaby, Reverend Skuro is in ministry as a deacon of the parish.
Ms. Holmlund who found a faith home at St. Stephen the Martyr, Burnaby is now the Parish Administrator of the Burquitlam parish.
Also graduating was Jan Nichol from the EfM – CAN02 group in the Diocese of Kootenay.
A small number of friends, family and diocesan clergy were present to support the graduates.
In the homily, Bishop Stephens took the Gospel, Mark 5:35-43 for his text.
He explored the story of Jairus, a far from perfect human being who comes to Jesus desperately seeking Jesus’ help. His daughter is gravely ill and as is reported by Mark in the passage, the girl dies while Jairus attempts to convince Jesus to come to his home.
Jesus does come to his home and commands that the little girl rises from her deathbed, he says to her, “get up.” And she does. Bishop Stephens unpacked the story in a contemporary context and applied it metaphorically to the often heard rumour that the Church is dying.
“There are some who say that the Church is dying. That soon we will be no more. That the numbers will continue to spiral down, soon the doors will be locked for the last time and end will have arrived. But this passage from Mark’s gospel seems to be saying something rather different. It is an invitation to affirm that Jesus is inviting us as well to get up off of our deathbed and proclaim the resurrection.
You see this evening we are honouring graduates in the program of Education for Ministry. Honouring those who have been digging deeper into what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ in 2021. Honouring people who have come searching for deeper answers, not satisfied with simple pat answers but wanting to know where it is that Jesus continues to come to us and say to us, Get up. Don’t just lie there caught up in this pandemic, frozen and not able to function. Don’t just lie there saying that the world has changed and people no longer want to hear about the God of love. Don’t just lie there and ignore what God is calling us to be and do and live. Don’t just lie there but get up.
Get up and do something different than what Jesus implored at the end of this passage in Mark. For Jesus said to them to tell no one else about what had taken place: that prayers were answered, that hope was seen, that new life had come, that the Holy Spirit was known, that Jesus had invited the little girl to get up and in so doing extended the invitation far and wide.”
Bishop John’s sermon is available here on this website, video and text.
Please keep the graduates in your prayers as the begin this next phase of ministry.