Randy Murray
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Ordinations on the Eve of the Feast of St Peter and St Paul
St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale

At 3:30pm on Sunday, June 28, 2015, the temperature in the nave at St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale was hovering well over the 30 degree mark. And not only was it warm, it was sticky, the sky outside was overcast and the air was full of summer moisture. But that did not prevent a stellar turn out for the first ordinations in the diocese of New Westminster for 2015. By 3:30 many of the available seats were occupied for the diocesan liturgy and the church was relatively full by 4pm when ordinands, presenters, sanctuary party and clergy processed in singing Come Down, O Love Divine.

An Ordination in the Holy Church of God liturgy is always a celebration, but when there are four ordinands involved, two on each path (vocational and transitional), and they have been raised up from different parishes around the diocese the event takes on the feel of a joyful family reunion.

The two vocational ordinands, Helen Lingham and Paul Richards will both continue their servant ministry in their home parishes of St. Andrew’s, Langley and Holy Trinity, White Rock. The two transitional deacons, Clare Morgan and Alex Wilson have a deep history with a number of churches in the diocese. Clare and Alex are among that group of people called to ministry who have been ordained in the diocese where they grew up. Currently in our diocese we have a number of priests who heard the call to ministry during their early formation and now they have been joined by the Reverend’s Clare Morgan and Alex Wilson. According to the Reverend Alex Wilson’s Facebook account, June 29, he announced that he will begin July 1, 2015 as assistant curate full time at St. Anselm’s located on the UBC endowment lands.The Reverend Clare Morgan who has recently been in ministry with Children, Youth and Families at St. Philip, Dunbar will likely share information about her position post-ordination soon.

In preparation for ordination the four had spent the previous few days together, participating in spiritual retreat facilitated by Ordination Retreat Chaplain, the Reverend Sue Foley-Currie.

Although the liturgy was led by Bishop Skelton it was a combined effort with all the parishes involved in the ordinations contributing. The Reverend Jeremy Clark-King, rector of St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale working with his team of: music director, Brigid Coult; verger, John Taylor; organist, Susan Ohannesian, and others, provided a welcoming and efficient liturgical experience for everyone involved. The combined choir boasted choristers from: Christ Church Cathedral, St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale, St. Paul’s and St. Andrew’s. Guitarist Mike Murie from St. Andrew’s participated in the Offertory Hymn which was the Reverend Scott Gould’s arrangement of Hyfrydol (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling) with Scott also playing guitar. St. Philip’s organist and director of music Michael Murray played the preludes and the postlude. The sanctuary party consisted of servers from St. Mary’s and Christ Church Cathedral, and the three readers were each connected closely to an ordinand.

Following the Proclamation of the Word it was time for Bishop Skelton’s homily. Bishop Skelton did refer to the Gospel reading, John 21: 15-19 but the majority of her address focused on the relationship of St. Peter and St. Paul whose combined feast day would be celebrated the day after the ordination on June 29.

A great deal has been said about these two saints who are considered the “building blocks” of the church. It has often been said that they did not get along, but even in their differences they were called by God to hold up the Jesus movement together, to have the courage of their faith to convince others to follow “the way”. Bishop Skelton urged the congregation by saying “let us struggle” just as Peter and Paul did, “let us struggle” to make known the costly death and the glorious resurrection of Jesus, “let us struggle” to worship the God who adopted the “messiness of the flesh”. We are always “under construction”, works in progress. “Let us struggle” with Jesus’ words, “FOLLOW ME”.

Bishop Skelton in a part of her message to the ordinands said “never forget the legacy of the two (Peter and Paul) we remember today…the raw material of God’s work of redemption in the world”.

(The full text of Bishop Skelton's sermon is available in .pdf by clicking this link)

Following the sermon, everyone stood and recited the Creed and then it was time for the Presentation, Examination and Consecration of the new deacons to be followed by the Eucharist.

After the ordinands had made their vows and participated in the litany for ordinations the Bishop laid hands on the head of each ordinand and said. “Send down your Holy Spirit upon your servant whom we now consecrate in your name to the office and work of a deacon in the Church.” And then after the laying on of hands she said, “Almighty God, give to these your servants grace and power to fulfill their ministry. Make them faithful to serve, ready to teach, and constant to advance your gospel; and grant that always having full assurance of faith, abounding in hope, and being rooted and grounded in love, they may continue strong and steadfast in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and your Holy Spirit, belong glory and honour, worship and praise, now and for ever. Amen.”

The Anointing of Hands was the next section of the sacrament. As each ordinand was anointed Bishop Skelton said, “I anoint you with holy oil. Make ready your soul to be a deacon in the church of God. May the grace of Christ fill you, may the power of Christ sustain you, may the love of Christ lead you that you may fulfill and maintain the vows you have made this day. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

The Consecration was followed by the presenters of each of the newly ordained helping them put on their stole, vesting them according to the order of deacons. Once vested, Bishop Skelton presented each of the new clergy with a Bible and said “Receive this Bible as a sign of your authority to proclaim God’s word and to assist in the ministration of his holy sacraments.” Bishop Skelton then introduced the newly ordained to the community gathered at St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale and the new deacons were greeted with enthusiastic applause.

During the Eucharist the four new deacons administered the Body of Christ, the bread of Communion for the first time in their lives as ordained persons. After the Bishop’s blessing and the Closing Hymn, Go to the World, the four spoke the dismissal in unison, “Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.” And everyone responded “Thanks Be to God!”

 For more photos please visit the diocesan Facebook page, ANGLICAN CONVERSATION.