Congratulations to Sue Tucker, ordained Deacon on the 11th September at Exeter Cathedral and to Steve Martin, ordained Priest at Tavistock Parish Church on the 24th September 2016. Two very uplifting services to mark new ministry in the Church of God.
Below is a letter of encouragement from Bishop Robert, Bishop of Exeter, to consider whether God might be calling you to be ordained. I will be very pleased to talk with anyone if you would like to discuss this further. Bishop Robert writes:
“One of the most positive developments in the life of our church in recent decades has been the discovery that everyone has their own unique ministry. From being a church in which a few ministered and the majority were ministered to, we have changed to be one which celebrates the diverse gifts of the whole body of Christ.
Amongst these many callings, the vocation to ordained ministry has remained a key part of what the Church of England has to offer in its service to the world around. Priests and deacons have a particular role in representing the church, of providing leadership and of being the focus of God’s people as we gather to celebrate the sacraments.
In recent years the Diocese of Exeter has seen a big increase in the number of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and of a range of ages coming forward to be ordained. Some are now serving the church full time, many others are working as self-supporting ministers. Their offering of themselves in this way has been a huge encouragement and support to the whole church and has enabled the church to thrive in ways which would not otherwise have been possible. We pray that God will provide even more people to serve in this way.
This letter is a direct appeal to you to consider if God might be calling you to be ordained. It could be an idea you have entertained for some time and never spoken to anyone about; it might be something that strikes you for the first time as you hear or read this. There may be someone else that you think would make an ideal priest and this may prompt you to encourage them to explore it. Those thinking about ordination enter a process of discernment in which a number of guides explore with them whether this is indeed the call of God. There is no possibility you might be ordained by accident just because you asked about it!
Over the coming months Bishop Nick, Bishop Sarah and I are continuing a programme of visits to Deaneries under the banner Bishops in Mission. Ideally all those visits will have a ‘vocations event’ at which enquirers may informally explore ordination. The Revd Hannah Alderson, our new Vocations Officer, or other members of the Diocesan Vocations Team, hopes to be present at as many of those events as possible. They will provide the space where you‘ can talk through your thoughts and hopes, or just find out more.
If you would like to discuss this matter further do speak first to your parish priest, who will be pleased to talk with you and help you decide the right way forward. Whatever your particular ministry, we wish you God’s richest blessing as you seek to answer his call to serve him.
With my thanks for our partnership in the Gospel.
+ Robert ”
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. Amen.
With my love and prayers.