The weekend of the 1 July saw the ordination of nine new deacons and seven new priests to serve across our Diocese in a variety of contexts.
Revd Canon Richard White from Liverpool Cathedral led a fantastic retreat, highlighting the centrality for ministry of forgiveness, vulnerability and prayer. Some of our ordinands struggled a little more than others with the silence (!) but all had a blessed time of hearing from God and reflecting upon the significance of what they were about to undertake.
There is a particular part of the ordination service which I am moved by every time. Following the promises that the new priests make, the Bishop says:
We bid you remember the greatness of the trust that is now to be committed to your charge. Remember always with thanksgiving that the treasure now to be entrusted to you is Christs own flock, bought with the shedding of his blood on the cross. It is to him that you will render account for your stewardship of his people.
This is a daunting calling indeed. As I looked out at the gathered congregations in the cathedral and saw this treasure of Christs flock assembled in support of their new deacons and priests, I found myself deeply moved by gratitude that 16 people from a variety of life stages, places and backgrounds were willingly offering themselves for this overwhelming task of stewardship, rather than doing the logical thing and running a mile! We are all aware that the Church of England faces profound challenges in the years ahead, but in the midst of these challenges, God continues to build his church, as year after year, people around the country willingly respond to this awesome call.
Fortunately, the liturgy goes on to say:
You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God…pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit
Each of our new deacons and priests knows that they cannot bear the weight of the calling, and in themselves are not up to the task. However, they also know the faithfulness of God, and trust His power and grace to equip them. I invite you to join me in continuing to pray for them, and all deacons, priests and bishops in the church, that they may continue to know the equipping and empowering of God in their ministries, such that they can flourish and thrive in their calling.
Ordination season is a great time to ask yourself what God might be calling you to. Could you too be called to shepherds Christs flock or serve his church? If something stirs in you, why not check out our other web pages about calling, speak to your vicar, or get in touch with the vocations team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the carousel of pictures below from the ordination of our priests at Bristol Cathedral and for more pictures visit our Facebook page.