4 Jul 2018

Celebrating three ordinations

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.”

John 15:16

We can celebrate and delight in the recent ordinations of three people in the Diocese in Europe during Petertide (30th June & 1st July). The weekend saw the ordination of a new priest in the Netherlands and two new deacons, one in Belgium and one in Italy.

On Saturday 30th June, Guy Diakiese Matumona was ordained priest by Bishop Robert at the Church of St John and St Philip, The Hague. Guy is originally from the Congo and his pilgrimage to this moment has come via Nigeria and Italy. The Revd Augustine Nwaekwe, chaplain in Ostend, Brugge and Knokke (Belgium), preached the sermon. Primarily addressing Guy, he spoke about the cost of serving Christ as a Presbyter of the Church. However, his words could be easily be generalised to touch all of us, 'the priesthood of all believers'. Service to Christ, the suffering Servant, involves us in suffering. To paraphrase Augustine, "the suffering before the glory, the cross before the crown." During Holy Communion, those gathered enjoyed music not only from the regular choir of St John and St Philip but also from an African choir. Afterwards there was a feast with many African dishes on offer… and, of course, an enormous, very Dutch cake!

Following swiftly on Sunday 1st July, Bishop Robert was at Holy Trinity Brussels to ordain Jean-Bosco Turahirwa as deacon. Jean-Bosco originally comes from Rwanda, but has studied in Cameroon, Switzerland and France. He now takes up a self-supporting post in Brussels, and continues his studies for a PhD. In his sermon on Matthew 25:31-46, Bishop Robert reflected on the ministry of service to which all Christians, and especially ordained ministers, are called, and encouraged everyone to resist the temptations of a blame culture in which there is little justice but much judgemental behaviour.

“A blame culture encourages you not to get involved, play it safe, don’t take the risk. Keep yourself to yourself. But in the light of the last judgement, that could not be a bigger mistake… The picture of the Last Judgement is given to encourage us to take stock of our lives, to reset our priorities, to put people first. It reminds us never to become indifferent to the needs of those around us and never to lose our thirst for justice. We may not be able to do much, but we can all do something. And ‘whatever we do for the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters we do for him’”.

He also gave thanks for the ministry of welcome and hospitality to refugees in Brussels, especially to those fleeing the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s. Those refugees, he said, had enriched the church’s spirituality beyond measure. And now it was a great joy to be ordaining someone from a Rwandan background who will serve across the whole church community.

Meanwhile in Italy, Bishop David was ordaining Giampaolo Pancetti as deacon in a bilingual English/Italian service at St Mark’s English Church in Florence. Giampaolo comes from the former Old Catholic community in Italy, which in 2012 became part of the Church of England. Bishop David writes, “We rejoice that he brings the gifts and treasures of that tradition into the Church of England to enrich our worship and prayer life, our commitment to witness to the Gospel and in our service to the world.”

Giampaolo currently works in IT and will be a self-supporting distinctive deacon and will serve as assistant curate in St Mark's Florence, which includes the congregations of St Peter's Siena, and Holy Cross, Bologna.

Ordinations are occasions of great joy and hope, and we rejoice that God is calling someone into ordained ministry.

We offer our prayers and congratulations to Guy, Jean-Bosco and Giampaolo and thank God for these three new ministers of Christ in our diocese.

Photos from The Hague courtesy of Moses Akena.

Photos from Brussels courtesy of John R Moore.

You can also watch this short film interview with Guy, Jean-Bosco and Giampaolo made whilst they were on retreat prior to their ordinations. In the film they speak about their sense of calling and what ordination means to them.