Monday, June 15, 2009

The Ordination

Last night was my ordination to the office of Presbyter (elder), also known as Priest, alongside Adrian Green. Willowfield Parish Church seemed to be right and full, a huge congregation, with great singing, although it made for a very warm evening, especially under a cassock and surplice.

Harold Miller, The Bishop of Down and Dromore led the service, and Craig Cooney, the Curate Assistant of Shankill Church, Lurgan was the preacher. I was encouraged to see so many other Presbyters who took part in the ordination prayer and laying on of hands, both old friends and new.

Also, in the congregation I noticed many friends, with a big contingent from my home parish of Dromore Cathedral, and another big crowd from my current parish of St Elizabeth's Dundonald. Plenty of family and friends were also scattered throughout the building, bringing good wishes and prayers.

Craig preached from the Old Testament reading, which was Isaiah 61:1-3, and specifically its use as a text for Jesus' sermon in Nazareth from Luke 4. We have a Spirit-empowered mission; a Jesus-centred mission; and a transforming mission. So be it!

When Deacons are ordained, it is only the Bishop who lays hands on the ordinand. With Presbyters, all the other Presbyters present have a share in laying hands, so it's a good job I'm not claustrophobic, with a group of about 20 Presbyters gathered around laying hands. A great sense of the togetherness of the mission we are engaged in, and a mighty time of prayer and encouragement.

At the end of the service, when we received the final charge from the Bishop, we were surrounded by representatives of the parish and diocese, before being led out into the world for mission and service by the Bishop, accompanied by the Church.

A special night, which will long stick in my memory. I haven't got any photos yet, but will post some and link to them when I see what other people have got on their cameras.

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