|by Rev Jokey Poyntz at Grays Baptist Church
It seems amazing to me that a year has gone by since I was ordained deacon at Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday 30 June 2013 and began working with my Training Incumbent Rev. John Guest at St Margaret’s, Stanford. It has been an amazing year of laughter and learning and abundant helpings of God’s grace!
This year, on the 22 June 2014, 26 of the 28 of us who had been ordained deacon, went on to be ‘priested’ at 4 different services in local churches across the Diocese of Chelmsford (and the following weekend 33 new deacons were ordained at Chelmsford Cathedral!) I was ordained priest along with 3 others at St Augustine’s, Thorpe Bay.
People talk about some kind of ‘ontological change’ happening when you are ordained priest and I wasn’t sure what I felt about that theologically – however, I can certainly now say that I felt a powerful charge of the Holy Spirit go through me when our dear Bishop John (Bishop of Bradwell) laid hands on my head and other clergy friends gathered round to pray and lay hands on me.
It was also incredibly powerful when Bishop John poured a liberal amount of the wonderfully scented “Chrism” oil into our hands to anoint us as priests. This spoke wonderfully to me about the abundance of God’s grace and reminded me of the story in Luke 7:36-50. The whole occasion was made even more charged by the knowledge that even though Bishop John was in a lot of pain after having done one ordination already that day, he was determined to carry on and do our service in the afternoon – and we prayed then, and continue to pray, for a miracle of healing for this man of God.
It is a wonderful privilege to be following this calling – yesterday I preached on Matthew 11:29 (see below) and my prayer is that I will be able to joyfully submit myself to be yoked to Jesus as he gently leads me on, and that I will be able to resist the burdens of the world and of religiosity so I can take people by the hand and lead them closer to our wonderful Lord so that they too will be yoked to him joyfully and freely and we may go on together to bring in that great harvest by all pulling together under Jesus’ gentle guidance.
Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Anglican ministers are charged with having the “cure of souls” in their parishes. There are approximately 22,000 people in our parish and I have barely scratched the surface! Just as well then that it is not just down to we few Anglican ministers! It is my prayer that the joy of the Lord will shine so brightly from all of us who follow Christ that it will dispel more and more of the darkness around us – the harvest is great and the workers may be few, but I feel as if their numbers are increasing and we are not doing any of this in our own strength but in God’s – Hallelujah!
To explain a bit to non-Anglicans (C of E people): in the Anglican Church all ministers are ordained as deacons which, as its title suggests implies service and learning from others – most do 3-4 years as a curate in a ‘training parish’, building on their previous academic training by learning the nuts and bolts of parish ministry, working closely with their Training Incumbent and others learning how to take services and funerals and thanksgivings and dedications, baptisms and weddings, and visiting and schools ministry and all the myriad other things which ministry covers! You never actually stop being a deacon, but, after a year most curates receive what I have come to understand as a kind of “spiritual upgrade’ when they are ordained again but this time as a priest. This means that they are able to exercise the more ‘sacramental’ ministries such as marrying people, baptising, blessing, absolving and presiding at the Eucharist (Holy Communion – blessing the bread and wine). Once the 3 to 4 years are completed, then (depending a bit on age and experience) most curates move on to become incumbents themselves – i.e. to have a more senior role in a parish either as part of a clergy team or on their own – but these days ably supported by lay (non-ordained) people exercising all sorts of ministries too.
Rev. Jokey Poyntz
“If we preach Christ, Anglicanism will flourish. If we preach Anglicanism, nothing will flourish.”