Photo credit: Jonathan Cutts Photography, www.jonathancutts.co.nz
At Saturday’s ordination of 11 deacons and 7 priests, Bishop Justin reminded us that the Church is constituted of people, not buildings. Over 800 people gathered at the Hope Centre in Lower Hutt to support the ordinands. Our usual venue—the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul—was (and currently is) closed due to an unstable building nearby, which was deemed unsafe after the recent round of earthquakes. In light of this change of plans, the Hope Centre location was a fitting reminder of both the “Hope” we carry for the future of our Church in these rumbling times and of our unity with our brothers and sisters beyond the Anglican Communion.
Through the ordination service, we glimpsed the future of our Diocese. 11 of the newly ordained are age 40 and under. Children presented each new priest and deacon with a Bible—pointing to a future hope and life rooted in God’s truth. In her sermon for the occasion, the Rev Canon Ellie Sanderson spoke of this future to those who are already ordained and said, “The people who today repeat words that we ourselves have said are not called to repeat the footsteps that we have trodden… We have a responsibility to listen and lean into the constantly re-creative newness of what Christ is doing. We must hear and learn from the stories of Christ’s call in the lives of these people, so that we can perceive afresh the church that Jesus is building.”
After each ordination, the new priest or deacon was warmly received by their whanau, who sang them a special waiata, and bestowed them with a stole.
We are incredibly grateful for the service of everyone involved in the day—especially the Cathedral team who displayed magnificent flexibility and generous hospitality at the off-site venue. We are also grateful for the warm welcome of our brothers and sisters at The Hope Centre. Finally, we were blessed to have the Ngati Poneke Maori Club celebrate with us in song.
REFLECTIONS FROM THE NEWLY ORDAINED
Rev Amy Houben, Parish of St Peter’s, Palmerston North, Newly Ordained Priest
The Cathedral did an inspired job creating a space and service flavoured beautifully with the very best of our Anglican tradition and spirituality. The chior was amazing. Thank you Ellie for your message to ‘respect the roots of the tree whose fruits we enjoy’ –for me, a call to acknowledge always our God who makes all things possible.
Oran my son loved being involved in the Service by presenting to me my Bible and I was not surprized one bit that he took to the stage. Then, to be embraced by the song and snuggles of my community and the kiss of my husband immediately after –just wonderful. What a great family we are– to which I am very pleased to belong.
All the best to my fellow clergy ordained on Saturday. Look forward to catching up soon.
Rev Andy Hickman, Parish of Tawa Linden, Newly Ordained Deacon
A significant moment of the ordination service was when the people responded to Bishop Justin having asked if they support the presentation of those of us to be ordained, “We are. Thanks be to God.”
It emphasised to me that ordination is not primarily about how good I might or might not be at being a deacon but about the request and support of God’s people to have us serve them and represent them. We’re on the same team moving forward.
Rev Fiona Thomson, Parish of Pauatahanui, Newly Ordained Deacon
At my ordination service, I received great joy, especially knowing that I could lay down all my fears walking into this new season. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey.
Rev Casey Lee and Rev Carmen Yeoh, Parish of Titahi Bay, Newly Ordained Deacons
The Ordination was awesome. It was all about God, family, relatives, church and friends. It will always make us smile to remember the moments of merriment in the midst of such solemn occasion. Appreciating all for their love and support. To God be the glory!
Rev Jimmy Luey, Chinese Anglican Mission, Newly Ordained Deacon
Thank you all for being so supportive! I appreciated the breadth of the Diocese family, as seen in the wide range of people who came forward for ordination, each with their sense of God’s call to serve and each support by their church communities.
My ordination is a response of obedience to that call, with all glory to God, and not something that I earned or achieved.
Rev Caro Willis, Parish of Waiwhetu, Newly Ordained Deacon
At the ordination service on Saturday, I was honoured to stand with my fellow ordinands and to be surrounded by my friends and family and the church. I was touched by the Holy Spirit and felt His joy which I will carry with me as I journey as a deacon. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me on my ordination journey!
Rev Michael Brantley, Diocesan Lay Ministry Enabler and Mobiliser, and Parish of Kelburn, Newly Ordained Priest
Saturday was a special day –not a day for congratulations, but a vow, an oath, a creed to no longer have freedom to dictate my future, my role, what I live for and vest myself into. It was Holy Orders, reflected in the marks of a slave, a servant: a collar, a tunic and a towel.
Highlights from Saturday: my family, my boys giving me the Bible, having the Bishop’s hands on my head, and the oil anointed, the Waiata sung to me as I stood up from kneeling (by St Michael’s, Blueprint Church, young leaders I invest in regularly, family, and my peers and friends… overwhelming!), the songs we sang as a creed, the humbling duty to bless and anoint afterwards, the rush of the event, the Eucharist shared, the overcrowded church and heat from so many together, the gifts, the food!
We are grateful to so many who have been part of the grafting process, making us again welcome in NZ, and it being home. The past two years of returning to NZ, being grafted into the Anglican Church, leadership, friends, graces and favour by so many, the spiritual journey that led to Saturday… it was, well, huge!