You are hereJune 2010
"What is a Priest?” “I thought Sally was Ordained anyway?” – all questions we have heard over the last few weeks as we prepare to host the Ordinations to the Priesthood in our benefice on 19th June.
Of course Sally is already “Rev’d Sally” – but as of now, she is a Deacon: The Church of England has inherited the three-fold Orders of Ministry from Biblical times – Bishop, Priest and Deacon. In the Ordination Sally (and five others) will be raised from Deacons to Priests, the Order with which we are far more familiar.
We are used to Priests in the Old Testament: but New Testament Priests are something different. The word is derived from the Greek Presbyter, meaning “Elder” or even denoting Wisdom: Priests were appointed to lead the Church locally, and St Paul tells Timothy to appoint them in every place.
From earliest times Priests were to work alongside their Bishops, the successors to the Apostles; but of course Bishops became far less local and more remote figures, so the regular Ordained figures in the local Church were Priests and Deacons. So what is the difference between a Deacon and a Priest?
In terms of function, a Priest does far more than a Deacon. Deacons are often administrators of the Sacraments, but Priests are specifically charged to celebrate them. From this time forward we shall see Sally Presiding at the Holy Communion: she will be able to Officiate at Weddings: and we shall see her blessing and declaring absolution on a regular basis. These are important functions at the heart of the Church’s life, and it is worth remembering that the Church National puts a great deal of faith in the Candidates for Priesthood. No-one is Ordained a Priest who has not been through National Selection processes and has had great scrutiny for their life and spirituality.
And so we receive (sorry for non-PC language) a “Man of God.”: The language of the Ordination service speaks of “Servants, Shepherds, Watchmen, Messengers and Stewards” – all very solemn undertakings. But because there is not a human being alive that can possibly manage all these things, Candidates are also enjoined to “Pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit.”
And so we receive a newly-Ordained Priest: this is a great privilege for our two Churches – and a great experience for many of us, as we come to the Ordination service. But to receive a Priest is also to be reminded that God calls us all to different roles within his Church – that none of us is superfluous to God’s purposes in Jesus Christ – and that every one of us is precious and important in his sight.
May God bless Sally in her new role in the three-fold Order: but may he inspire all of us in our own calling in the Body of Christ.
The First Eucharist
Sally will preside for the first time at the Eucharist on Wednesday 23rd June at 7.30pm at St Michael & St Wulfad’s. There is a guest preacher and we warmly encourage everyone to be present at this very special occasion in her ministry.
|Date/service||8am Stone||9.15am Aston||10.45am Stone|
|6th June||Curate||Mary Babb||Steph Cardinal|
|13th June||Rector||Curate||Nichola Abbott|
|20th June||Ted Pick||Rector||Sue Coles|
|27th June||Annette Hawkins||Berwyn||CIVIC SERVICE|
|4th July||Malcolm Clark||Bryan Fletcher||Paul Harvey|
If any further people would like to volunteer to lead us in prayer (with suitable help) then please contact the Rector.
Pilgrimage to Holywell
After last year’s successful expedition, we are repeating our trip to the Shrine at Holywell on Saturday 5th June – cost £12 each. Lists will already have been up in Church, so if anyone wishes to come, please contact the Rector as soon as possible
Congratulations to Councillor Mr Rob Kenney on his election as Mayor of Stone. I am honoured to be asked to serve as his Chaplain this year. The Mayor’s annual Civic service will be held at 10.45am on Sunday June 27th this year in St Michael & St Wulfad’s Church.
And by popular request, the Stone Festival will end with Songs of Praise on Sunday 13th June at 6.30pm. If you would like to request your favourite hymn, please sign the sheets that will be displayed at the back of our Churches.