3 Mar 2020

Rotterdam celebrates ordination of new priest


On 25 February, the ordination to the priesthood for Humayun Sunil took place in St. Mary’s Anglican and Episcopal Church in Rotterdam. This was an important ordination, marking the Diocese’s commitment to mission and directed ministry among particularly the European Pakistani community, but also other refugee and migrant communities.

Designated by Bishop Robert as a Holy Day for St. Walpurga, patroness of several towns in Belgium and at least one in The Netherlands and invoked as a special patroness in storms and by sailors, the day reflected the mission spirit of the ordination. Walpurga was part of the wonderful flowering of Northumbrian and Celtic spirituality more generally in the 8th century, accompanying her uncle, St. Boniface, in his European mission. Bishop Robert said, ‘We all pray for Sunil and St. Mary’s as we look forward to his own mission in the tradition of those who brought the gospel to northern Europe.’

The service was joyfully vibrant, and the communal spirit of clergy, readers, and laypersons was in abundance as all came together to support Sunil. Archdeacon of North West Europe, The Venerable Paul Vrolijk, presented the ordinand to Bishop Robert to be a priest in the Church of God, and The Revd. Richard Bromley, ICS Mission Director, was also present to lend his support. The working relationship between the Diocese, ICS, and St. Mary’s is vital to the success of the mission Sunil is undertaking and was celebrated prominently at the service.  Sunil is pictured below with Bishop Robert.


New priest with +Robert


For Sunil, there were many highlights of this ordination service besides the laying on of hands on the ordinand and welcoming him to the priesthood. The spectacular performance by the St. Mary’s Church choir of a magnificent collection of hymns and anthems and the powerful, challenging sermon delivered by Bishop Robert were two special highlights. Although Sunil also does admit feeling ‘tremendous pressure’ at the solemnity of the occasion and thinking afterward that it had all sped by!

Even though it was a week of voorjaarsvakantie (a holiday) in the Netherlands, considerable numbers of people attended the ordination service. Holt Hall at St. Mary’s, a communal place for socializing after the church services, was packed with people after the ordination service. As it was also Shrove Tuesday, of course, poffertjes (small Dutch puffed pancakes) with melted butter and powdered sugar were served! It was a wonderful time of celebration for this community and the wider Church.


Chaplain + new priest


We wish to thank The Revd Jennifer Pridmore, Chaplain, St. Mary’s Anglican & Episcopal Church, Rotterdam, and friends at St Mary’s for this piece and the photos in this article.