Two Bishops in Bodmin and Plenty of Priests
If you went past St Petroc’s Church on Friday 25th September, you might have seen many priests, socially distanced, having their photos taken outside the west door! Over three days, eleven deacons will be ordained as priests and eight will be ordained as deacons, either at St Petroc’s or Truro Cathedral.
Bishop Philip explained how appropriate it was for ordinations to take place at St Petroc’s Church, the original home of ‘The Bodmin Gospels’. The names of slaves who gained their freedom were written, in Cornish, in the margin of the illuminated book, in manumission ceremonies. Jesus came to set at liberty those who are oppressed which is part of the calling priests continue to fulfil in their ministries.
The services were special, with Bible readings from Isaiah 52, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace and brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns.” and from 2 Corinthians 5, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation…”
A cantor beautifully sang several songs including ‘Ich habe genug’ ‘It is enough’, as said by Simeon when we saw Jesus as a baby in the temple – he was happy to depart this world as he’d seen the face of God in Jesus.
Bishop Hugh preached a cleverly crafted sermon, insightfully inspired by the Bible reading from Isaiah, who was a prophet of the imagination. He looked at the disastrous situation the people of Israel were in but did not settle for it. He saw the situation and in the power of the Holy Spirit imagined something completely transformed. What is more, he described what he imagined, as he retold the story of God’s faithfulness, in ways that engaged the people, who did not give up but trusted in God again.
Bishop Hugh first call to those ordained was to step into their new ministry to be prophets of the imagination. Their task is to tell the story of God’s faithfulness in way that intrigues and entices people to enter in and have their understanding of the world transformed as they come to see it as the home of God’s grace and mercy.
Secondly, he called them to give everything they’ve got to building communities that have this imaginative capacity. Isaiah didn’t lead Israel into a brave new world on his own. He invited the whole people of Israel be involved and so too, the new priests are to shape the imagination of communities, so that they can do the Lord’s work in the world.
In summary, priests are to be prophets of the imagination, called to build communities that share God’s imagination.
The bishop anointed the priests with oil. Prayers were said, Communion shared and blessings given.
We all prayed for God’s blessing on the newly ordained.
A huge thank you to Muriel, Andrew and Joanna who did the planning before the event, during it and after it. It went like clockwork.