The last week or so has been a particularly busy time in the parish of St James’, as we have marked sacramentally several rites of passage.
On Saturday 24 June Bishop Melissa ordained in Christ Church Cathedral five deacons and three priests, among them our new priest, Mother Lucy. This is cause for celebration and rejoicing, that the church in our diocese is recognising God’s call in this number of people, and that these men and women are ready to answer God’s and the church’s call to serve in ordained ministry. It is another sign that the Diocese of New Westminster is alive and healthy, bearing fruit in God’s service. As we give thanks for all those recently ordained, we are reminded, all of us, to ask ourselves, “How is God calling me today to offer my gifts and talents in his service?”
Those in ordained ministry have a particular role to play in and for the life of the church, as deacon, priest or bishop, as set out in the Ordination Services in the BAS. The priest is to preside at the celebration of the sacraments, to preach and teach, to absolve and to bless, to be an agent of Christ’s peace and reconciliation. Accordingly, Mother Lucy presided for the first time at High Mass on Sunday 25 June, when the preacher was Fr. Alex Wilson, Vicar of St. Anselm’s Church. Our thanks are due to all those who worked hard to ensure the liturgy and the celebration lunch went so smoothly. As we give thanks for our new priest, Mother Lucy, we at St. James’ are reminded to ask ourselves, “How are we as a community, how am I, an agent and a sign of Christ’s blessing and forgiveness, Christ’s peace and reconciliation, in a broken and divided world?”
Later in the afternoon on Saturday 24 June, Mass was celebrated quietly in the Lady Chapel as a couple who worship from time to time at St. James’ renewed their vows on the occasion of their 40th Wedding Anniversary. In this simple service they celebrated the presence of Christ at the heart of their lives and their relationship. Again we ask ourselves, “Is Christ at the heart of our lives and our relationships?”
On Wednesday 28 June Requiem Mass was offered in St. James’ for long-time member John Conway. The liturgy was a confident expression of Christian hope “in the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come,” as we prayed for John and entrusted him into the loving hands of God our Father. The question for us here is, “How as a church do we, how do I, live out, give expression to, this Christian hope? How do we bring to bear the light of the Risen Christ in the world today?”