This morning was a very special morning in the Life of our Church, St. James the Less in the Parish of Renforth. It was the occasion of the ordination to the diaconate for Jonathan Hallewell. Jonathan had been worshipping here for over a year and as the year went on and I announced my retirement it became increasingly clear to me and him and a bunch of others that he may be called to leadership in ministry at St. James the Less.
For me personally this was a great peace, because one of my greatest concerns was, who was going to follow. God is the god of all provision and he has done this and not ourselves.
To be able to watch this event actually take place was one of the miracles of modern technology. I was on my way to a local new church plant here in North Charleston SC from the marina and Val was at Kait’s house in Saskatchewan. We both surfed in on Facebook live and were able to experience the service.
Earlier I had suggested to Jonathan that it would be a great blessing to us to be able to watch on Video, so he taped an old iPhone to the “wings of the eagle” … something prophetic about that no doubt!
Here are some of my impressions.
It looked like he did this about an hour before the service began, so I got to hear all of the “pre-service things, like John and Cynthia practicing, Linda getting the organ in shape and bits of conversation here and there…. Yes the whole world could have been listening! Particularly moving was seeing and hearing David and Jonathan rehearsing the vows and generally preparing for what was to take place.
Next was Susan’s introduction. It gave me great hope that the parish still has the call and character of Christ and is full of the spirit. Susan you were true to form and so sensitive to the people and to the Holy Spirit as you introduced the service and prayed. I am very proud of you.
Of course next we were hearing John and Cynthia lead worship. The song selection and leading was as usual done with excellence and sensitivity, leaving lots of room for the spirit to speak and leave an impression on hearts. Thankyou
Throughout the service we were seeing many friends and visitors participating. There were clergy, friends and church members taking part, each one touching our hearts as we saw them pass the wings of the eagle.
Listening to the message by Bishop (moves diagonally on the chessboard) Edwards, was a treat. It was an act of great love for David to come and do this so close to the time of Janets passing. His call to us all was deep and practical and very real.
My last highlight was watching people come to the rail to receive communion. Very emotional. This was the deepest moment for me. The eagles wings witnessed most of the congregation come forward, kneel and then receive the bread and wine. As the one who did this for over 20 years it stirred deep memories and emotions.
In a few minutes I board a plane and fly to Toronto to Chair meetings with Wycliffe Canada and then on Thursday Val and I both return to Tevah and head south.