My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today our Diocesan family welcomes four new priests, Monnecia Duncan, Bertram Gayle, Courtney Carridice and Kamar Prendergast, and four new deacons, Kerry Parchment Carr, Carol Vaughns, Javanie Byfield and Robert Green as they will be ordained this afternoon at our Cathedral Church at 3:30 p.m. I ask your prayers for these persons being ordained as they will be doing ministry at a time when the church faces significant challenges. The church has historically faced challenges. However, the real issue is the character of the challenge we face and the need for us to draft responses which can be effective in overcoming these concerns. We pray for the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit in ways that will enable us to reorganize the real issues that confront us because unless we are aware as to what these issues are, then we will not be able to effect relevant responses.
Our newly ordained will need to spend quality time preparing themselves to proclaim God in word and sacrament to a context that is increasingly focused on things transient and temporal, ignoring the external and everlasting. They will have to contend with a generation of people who have had very little religious exposure. As such, the assumption that many of our people have a basic Christian world view is not the reality.
We often comment on the shortage of persons for the ordained ministry. This we know as a Cure, given our recent history. However, as was said by Bishop Garth last Sunday on “Think on these things”, we have to challenge our people to contemplate the ordained ministry. Like the Bishop, I was challenged and responded. While I accept the issues and concerns raised, the reality is that ordained ministry is grounded in our experience of God’s redemptive love, and the need to share this love with human community. It is far more than remaining a Church or keeping a Church. It is to become a living expression of God’s love to people. Our prayers for our duly ordained is that in their vocation and ministry, God’s love is revealed.