2 Jul 2019

Petertide 2019: Bishops ordain priest and new deacons in the Diocese

At Petertide services over the weekend, our Bishops ordained a new priest and four new deacons in services held in Holy Trinity pro-Cathedral, Brussels and the Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Crete.

Holy Trinity pro-Cathedral, Brussels

We had a most joyful and inspirational weekend of ordinations at Holy Trinity Brussels, with services of contrasting character.

On Saturday 29th June, Jean Bosco Turahirwa was ordained priest by Bishop Robert at Holy Trinity pro-Cathedral, Brussels.

The majority of those present at Saturday’s ordination of Jean-Bosco as priest were African, and the service had a suitably lively and informal feel. The music was sung in English, French, Kinyarwandan and Swahili.  Holy Trinity welcomed Rwandan refugees in the 1990s. It is deeply gratifying that this community has now produced its first ordinand in Jean-Bosco.  Jean-Bosco will continue to serve as assistant curate at Holy Trinity.

On Sunday 30th June, the Bishop ordained Mathias Kissel, Evelyn Sweerts and Roxana Teleman as new deacons. The service was dignified and beautiful and led by a robed choir. We welcomed guests from France, Switzerland and Luxembourg who had made long journeys to support Roxana, Mathias and Evelyn.

In his sermon, Bishop Robert preached on St Paul’s letter to the Romans 12:1-13, in which the apostle addresses how we should live in a new and inclusive community as Christians before God in the world. The Bishop emphasised Christian belief in a gospel of transformation, that we may be able to discern God’s will for us.  In this context, the large Church of England project called “Setting God’s People Free” is an effort with two aims.  Its first aim is to shift our focus from what goes on inside church and instead help us all to live as Christians Monday to Sunday in our homes, communities and workplaces.  Second, "Setting God’s People Free" aims to address the question of how clergy and lay people properly value and complement each other.  In the context of the Body of Christ, the dynamics are community in which each is dependent upon all the others, gifts are shared and the whole is built up in love.

Bishop Robert noted his love for the fact that Holy Trinity has for its beautiful West Window a picture of the Holy Spirit falling on the iconic Brussels Grand Place, as a reminder to us all to be very concerned with how we work out our faith in the world.  He said deacons are called to an outward-facing ministry.  And that in a well-functioning church, people work together to build each other up and to release energy for service in the world.

Holy Trinity Brussels did a magnificent job of welcoming everyone and of providing meals after both services.

Our three new deacons ordained in Brussels will now embark on serving their chaplaincies across the Diocese.  Mathias will serve as assistant curate at the Anglican Church, Basel; Evelyn at the Anglican Church of Luxembourg; and Roxana at the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity, Nice, with St Hugh, Vence.

Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Crete

Diocesan history was made on Sunday 30th June. The ordination of Julia Bradshaw as deacon in St Thomas Church in Kefalas, Crete, was the first time in the diocese that three distinctive deacons were together for such a liturgical event. Of course, Deacon Julia, the ordinand, was the reason we were all in Crete. She is the assistant curate in St Thomas Church, Kefalas, within the Greater Athens Chaplaincy. The preacher for the service was Deacon Christine Saccali, who also serves the Greater Athens Chaplaincy in St Paul’s Athens. The Deacon of the mass was Frances Hiller, Bishop David’s Chaplain.

The Church of St Thomas is open to the air, so although the temperature was in the low 30s, the full congregation present for the ordination rite were kept cool by refreshing breezes from the Mediterranean. Our singing was also enhanced by a chorus of cicadas!

In her sermon, Deacon Chris, a classics scholar, (as well as fluent in modern Greek) drew attention to the root of the word deacon relating to dust, and dusting, and reminded Julia of the deacon’s role in “spring-cleaning” the church and the world. She emphasised the servant role of the deacon, as a sign of Christ’s own ministry of service.

Clergy from many parts of England attended the service, particularly some who have known Julia through training at ERMC. The new deacon’s training incumbent, the Revd Bruce Bryant-Scott, Acting Archdeacon Adèle Kelham, and our Diocesan Registrar, Mr Aiden Hargreaves-Smith, all had significant roles to play in the solemn rite.

We rejoice that those ordained in the Diocese this Petertide weekend have pledged themselves to the service of God and his church, and we continue to hold them in our prayers as they minister among us.