I was 28 years old and 6 months pregnant the day I was ordained deacon in Wellington Cathedral by the late Archbishop Brian Davis (30 November 1991).
The thing I remember most about the service was worrying whether I would faint when I knelt before the bishop, as I had discovered that being pregnant, if I knelt to pray, I would faint. I didn’t faint that day.
25 years on I look back on 1300 Sundays; 115 baptisms 56 weddings and 97 funerals.
I can’t imagine life any other way and feel grateful for the people who have offered me the privilege of sharing their lives in their happiest and saddest moments, and lots of moments in between.
It amazes me really that people still attend worship, still want to belong to a church community, when the church as an institution so often fails us. Yet the reason they still attend and the reason I still show up on a Sunday to lead them, is because we seek together something beyond ourselves. We seek the presence of the Spirit in our midst and to follow the paths of the one we call Christ. Then we are all sent out to be God’s presence in the world.
28 was pretty young to be ordained – what was the good bishop thinking! And people straight away treated me differently, listened seriously to what I said. That was the scary part.
In the service the bishop prays that the candidate will be empowered by the God of grace. I am grateful for that grace, which is “gentle as a dove” and “living, burning as fire” all at the same time.
I took the funeral this year of a priest, who had been ordained over 60 years. So I guess 25 is just starting out really.
The way forward for the church and for God’s mission in the world is less clear than it was back then. The church once at the centre is now on the edge of society. But people still come, seeking something bigger. Joy and sorrow happen. Grace happens. And God is good.