|A Koru - in Maori culture it symbolises new growth and fresh starts.By Jon Radoff - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1380624|
The day is nearly upon us! By the time you read this Sam will have moved in to St Thomas’ House and the days leading to his Ordination are getting fewer. For Sam, I am sure there are a mix of emotions, but maybe for us too. How will it all be?
Just to remind you, Sam will be made Deacon in St Albans Abbey at 11.15am on 1st July. I hope that many of us from across the parish will want to go to both support and welcome Sam as he begins ministry amongst us, and as this chapter that God is writing with us, opens. If you would like to travel to the service on the coach, please sign up on the sheets in each church building.
Sam’s arrival is a source of joy, not least of all for me, but please remember that he does not come as an ‘extra pair of hands’ to ‘help the Vicar’ but to be trained in parish ministry having completed his theological education. This training is the main reason that he is with us and all of us have a part to play in that as he learns the basics of what it means to serve in a parish - baptising infants, burying the dead, visiting the sick and housebound and over time learning how to preach and make known the love of God in Christ.
To enable as many of us to go to the Abbey for the Ordination, there will be no services in the parish on the morning of 1st July but in the evening we will hold a Parish Eucharist at St Peter’s at 6.30pm where Sam will Deacon for the first time, be welcomed and read his license. This will give many of us the chance to rejoice with Sam in worship, and the service will be followed by a reception in the parish hall. Again I am sure that many of you will want to be at that service if you are able to.
In the weeks to come you will notice that the liturgical colour in our church buildings is green. This is because we are entering what the Church of England unimaginatively calls ‘Ordinary time.’ As Sam begins ministry amongst us, I hope you will agree that, as this new chapter opens, no time with God is ordinary - in fact Scripture tells us that when people spend any sort of time with God, things are generally pretty extraordinary!
At this stage the most important thing that each of us can do is to pray and the church calls us to specially in the days leading up to the Feast of St Peter when women and men are ordained to serve the church. These are known as ember days (an interesting article can be read here) from the Anglo Saxon ymbren meaning cycle or season.
Please do pray for Sam in these days. Please pray for Maggie, Helen, Paul, Anne and me. Please pray for each other as this new season begins. That God would do some extraordinary things in our day too.
Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.