Following the procession that marked the beginning of the Celebration of New Ministry Eucharist, Bishop Michael welcomed the congregation, adding a special welcome to the members of St. Helen’s, Surrey who had made the trip to West Van that mild Wednesday evening, February, 20th, 2013. Smiling, he told the St. Christopher’s congregation that it is always a “very good sign” when a substantial contingent from the new rector’s former congregation attends the Celebration of New Ministry in their new parish. Bishop Michael went on to say that this show of affection is no surprise as their new rector, the Reverend Michael McGee is “a much loved and respected priest of our diocese.”
Led by organist and Music Director, Dr. Annabelle Paetsch, bassoonist, David Boddington, violinist, Edgar Bridwell, the St. Christopher’s Choir and bell ringers the liturgy had a festival flair adding to the atmosphere of the Eucharist.
The Incumbent of All Saints, Ladner, the Reverend Elizabeth Northcotte was the preacher and she was an excellent choice. Elizabeth and Michael were seminarians together in Montreal more than two decades ago and they also shared ministry responsibilities years later when both of them, now priests in the Diocese of New Westminster served as members of the St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale clergy team.
Elizabeth spoke about her early impressions of Michael and Susan McGee and how they were a couple with which she experienced an instant connection, like they had known each other all their lives.
Elizabeth said that not only is the Parish of St. Christopher’s fortunate to be sharing ministry with Michael but they will also benefit substantially from the presence of Michael’s “best friend” Susan. She went on to say that Michael “is a faithful and respected man who carries God’s Spirit.” A dedicated runner, Michael always runs with his running partner,
In her address, Elizabeth wove together the readings from scripture:
Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25a; 2 Corinthians 4: 1-6
and the Gospel, Luke 10: 1-2
into a compelling reflection, with the emphasis being that as disciples of Christ, it is with God’s mercy that Michael and the community of the Parish of St. Christopher’s will share ministry together.
The Celebration of New Ministry continued after the sermon and the anthem, Handel’s
– Rejoice, give thanks
, with the presentation to Michael by members of the congregation of the Symbols of Ministry: the Bible, Holy Water for Baptism, oil for anointing and healing, the Canons, the keys to the buildings, prayer books and hymn books and finally the elements of the Eucharist, the bread and wine.
After the presentations, Bishop Michael said these words, “Michael, let all these be signs of the ministry which is mine and yours, and is shared by all the people of God.” To which Michael replied, “Amen. May we find joy together in the service of Christ.” Bishop Michael then looked out to the congregation and said, “I present Michael as the leader of your ministry, and I invite your welcome.”
These words were greeted by a sustained ovation as the community of St. Christopher, West Vancouver welcomed their new rector and the contingent from St. Helen’s, Surrey bid another fond farewell to their friend.
The remainder of the worship unfolded with the traditional welcome to the Archdeaconry (of Capilano) by the Venerable Dr. Lynne McNaughton and Regional Dean, the Reverend Dr. Angus Stuart. Michael led the congregation in the Prayers of the People and The Peace and assisted Bishop Michael at the Altar for the Eucharist.
It was indeed a joyful celebration and a glorious beginning to the shared ministry of the Reverend Michael McGee and the Parish of St. Christopher, West Vancouver.
Images: Top, Rev Michael in a reflective mood. Upper right, the preacher, the Rev. Elizabeth Northcotte, Lower left and homepage The new rector and Bishop Michael share The Peace. Below, Reverend Michael McGee is presented with the Symbols of Ministry by his new congregation.