Approximately 100 lay and clergy gathered at St. Mary's, Kerrisdale (SMK), Tuesday, June 14, 2016 for A Celebration of New Ministry, the official installation by Bishop Melissa Skelton of the Reverend's Christine Rowe and Elizabeth (Liz) Ruder-Celiz as Assistants to the Rector (the Reverend Jeremy Clark-King) at SMK. Bishop Skelton preached and presided at the Eucharist. Prior to the priests signing the Oath and being officially welcomed by the community, Bishop Skelton led all those present in the Renewal of Baptismal Vows followed by the two newly (officially) installed assistant priests asperging all those gathered in the nave. It was a very moving and significant reinforcement of baptismal commitment.
The Reverend Christine Rowe, received into the Diocese of New Westminster 15 years ago from the Church of England concluded nine years as rector of St. Catherine’s, Capilano last fall and will be specializing in pastoral ministry at SMK.
The Reverend Liz Ruder-Celiz, originally from Wisconsin but moved to the Diocese of New Westminster at an early age was raised in the area. Liz recently completed 8 months as interim priest-in-charge at St. John’s, Shaughnessy. Liz will be specializing in Christian Formation.
Both Christine and Liz have spouses who are priests with current appointments in the Diocese of New Westminster. The Venerable Stephen Rowe is rector of the Anglican Parish of the Church of the Epiphany, Surrey and Archdeacon of Fraser; the Reverend Robin Ruder-Celiz is vicar of St. Martin’s, North Vancouver and chair of the Ecumenical/Multifaith Unit of the diocese.
In her homily, Bishop Skelton took the Gospel Luke 10: 1-11 for her text. She made reference to the tragic events that had taken place earlier in the week in Orlando and in the Philippines. In her analysis of Jesus’ sending out of the 70, two by two, the Bishop focused on the goodness that people can do when they focus on those who are right beside us…
“And so tonight we are here to do many important things that have to do with those right beside us. We are here to celebrate the gift of two priests to this parish, two priests that we all know and love, and we are here to celebrate the gift this parish will be to both of them. We are here to affirm the importance of their leadership not only in the responsibilities each has been given but also in the presence each brings to her work. We are here to affirm that at its core, both of their roles will be to work with Jeremy and other staff members here at St. Mary’s to collaborate with and uphold the ministry of the baptized in this place. We are here to draw near to the Holy Table on which the gifts of bread and wine will become for us the gifts of Christ’s body broken and his blood spilled, the sign of God’s own identification with all of human life, even the grimmest parts. And, finally, we are here to affirm that all of these things and all of what happens here at St. Mary’s on a daily basis are not only important but are critical in this world of ours today…
Tonight the nearness of the realm of God and the human lives that are shaped by this nearness--shaped to love, shaped to seek peace, shaped to pursue justice—these are the abundant fruits of the work that Liz and Christine and Jeremy and the people of St. Mary’s and you and I do every day. This work with and among those right next to us are what we can do as we stand feeling helpless in the face of random and senseless death. This work with and among those right next to us are what we can do to create our own little patch of goodness in the world…
And so tonight as we celebrate these two women who have become fellow cultivators of this particular patch of goodness that is St. Mary’s, we are here to celebrate that this patch of goodness is not alone but is organically connected to its brother and sister parish churches that, as they work, all send out their shoots to knit together one great field of goodness, one great field that is the solid ground on which the realm of God will grow. For the realm of God cannot be stamped out but stands around us and before us like one vast abundant wheat field that the wind blows over and through. The realm of God stands around and before us like one vast abundant wheat field bursting with grain, ripe with a harvest of light and love, peace and justice, forgiveness and renewal, generosity and welcome. “
This liturgy was all about those right beside us. Liz’s young daughters were being watched and cared for in the congregation by Christine’s adult daughters. Christine’s eldest daughter Hannah, read the lesson from the Hebrew Bible, Jeremiah 1: 4-9. Robin and Stephen both administered the wine of Holy Communion beside their spouses during the Eucharist. And the rector, the Reverend Jeremy Clark-King was there as a ministry partner, supportive and present.
Please keep the clergy and lay of SMK in your prayers as they embrace this new chapter in ministry working “with and among those right beside us.”
For more photos and cut lines visit Anglican Conversation - Diocese of New Westminster, the facebook page of the diocese.