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Ordinations in Ghent and Milan

We celebrate with joy the ordination of new deacons and priests in the diocese at two services conducted by Bishop Robert in Ghent on 3 July, and Bishop David in Milan on 4 July. You can read more about the faith story and vocation of all ordination candidates in the diocese in our Summer issue of European Anglicans magazine coming out on 9 July. 

Ghent

In the Elisabethkerk in the Anglican Chaplaincy of St John’s Ghent, Bishop Robert conducted the ordination service for Sarah-Jane King as deacon, and Annie Bolger, Dorienke de Vries and Matt Thijs, as priests.

In his sermon, Bishop Robert reflected on a passage from the prophet Habakkuk, who says, "I will stand at my watchpost, I will keep watch to see what he will say to me."  Bishop Robert addressed the covid-19 Pandemic and how it underlines our human fragility and mortality, has given rise to “striking instances of twisted communications’, seen loneliness become an epidemic, as well as a serious rise in levels of domestic violence against women, and “unmasking of serious inequalities leading to impacts which are much greater in some communities than others.”

In the face of “wicked problems” in our time, Bishop Robert spoke of justice and equality, healing and Christian hope:

"Jesus came to a world in which people were divided from one another by race, gender and purity status. He paid particular attention to the dignity of women. He gathered around him a band of disciples which would become the radically inclusive community of the church.

This would be a society in which there would be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but all one in Christ Jesus. Many times in its history the church has got things very wrong, but it yet remains as a possibility and a hope for overcoming the alienation between people which runs very deep in our nature."

Bishop Robert expressed gratitude to diocesan staff who worked hard in the discernment, training and administration that led up to the ordinations, to The Revd Canon Stephen Murray, Chaplain at St John’s, as well as the people of the chaplaincy for their welcome and organisation. The Bishop also thanked Archdeacon Sam Van Leer who conducted the ordinands' retreat, and John Wilkinson, David Mitchell and Jonathan Halliday from Holy Trinity for their support with liturgy and music for the service. 

Addressing the new deacon and priests Bishop Robert said:

"Sarah-Jane, Annie, Dorienke and Matt: we are thankful today for the new life, leadership and energy you bring to our church. May you indeed be heralds of the kingdom, proclaiming the gospel in word and in deed. And may your ministry be a great source of personal fulfilment and a blessing to all those whom you serve,"

You can watch a livestream of the Ordination Service in Ghent here and a video about Matt Thijs' ordination, made by St. James', Voorschoten here.

Milan

At All Saints’, Milan, Bishop David conducted the ordination services four new priests in the diocese:  Martin George, Robert Morley, Roxana Teleman and Valdis Teraudkalns.

Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel preached the sermon which reflected on the Gospel passage of The Good Shepherd.  Highlighting the call from God to Abraham, Moses, David and the prophets, Archdeacon Leslie linked the heritage of these “nomadic people of pastoralists” to what Jesus would have drawn upon as the Good Shepherd and in his own calling and ministry.  Juxtaposing the idyllic image of the Good Shepherd, characterised as meek and mild, Archdeacon Leslie emphasised three qualities of Christ as Shepherd: protection, leadership and trust.

“These qualities of protection and leadership are undergirded by a relationship of mutual and voluntary trust which is built between the shepherd and his or her sheep”. Archdeacon Leslie drew upon the “fringe aspect of sheep and shepherds”, as they were always on the move to find new pastures and avoid extreme weather conditions. Through this “a shepherd learned adaptability, resourcefulness and holding responsibility.”

He quoted Archbishop Rowan Williams who said ordination is “to receive the word and the power of the first witnesses in response to God’s individual call” and turning to the candidates said:

“Martin, Robert, Roxana and Valdis: welcome to the joys and adventures of priestly ministry. You will be trusted with the pastoral and priestly care of people…  This ministry becomes exciting when you give and earn the love of the people both in the congregation as well as those outside. The rainbow of relationships is what you are called to keep shining. You can trust in the grace of God and your Good Shepherd Jesus Christ."

You can watch the livestream of the ordination service here.

We welcome our new deacon and priests and continue to pray for their ministry in the diocese.