Another day, another new ministry now begins

I was at the installation of a new rector at St John’s, Shaughnessy the other night. It was an extraordinary event – the arrival of a new priest to minister in a place which has been greatly fought over. It is one of the congregations where significant numbers of people left the Anglican Communion rather than remain in a diocese where there was the possibility of same-sex couples having their relationships blessed in some churches. There were subsequent legal cases over the property which I’ll never know enough about to understand in their entirety, suffice to say that the legal process determined that the property was held in trust by the diocese for Anglicans to minister and worship in this place. In other words, those leaving could not take the building with them.

In this way, that church became a symbol of the inability of some Anglicans to contain their disagreements within the bonds of affection which had previously held them together.

A page has now turned and a new ministry there has begun. People turned out the other night to pray for those engaged in building up the congregation again. The Diocese of New Westminster is moving on. These troubles have not been without great cost for all involved. Yet new beginnings are being made.

I have to say that the liturgy of induction is considerably improved by timing the closing procession just at the moment when the garden sprinkler system turns on. The delighted squeals and giggles from the clergy as they were baptised with garden hoses should be part of every service marking a new ministry.

I go to many installation and induction services. Very often they can seem very much alike. One becomes aware that our ability to chose hymnody for such occasions is limited by the paucity of the repertoire of many a congregation. However, I found myself hearing and singing the gradual hymn at St John’s Shaughnessy more prayerfully and attentively than usual.

Be still, for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place.
He comes to cleanse and heal
To minister his grace.
No work too hard for him.
In faith receive from him.
Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place.

And I say, Amen.