Hazel’s Ordination Reflection:
It’s hard to express my feelings following such a wonderful ordination service on Saturday 25th September. It was a real joy. It was so special to be ordained alongside Rosie and to sing God’s praises with so many others, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
Before the service, Rosie and I had been on retreat At Sheldon for 3 days. The speaker, during his last reflection read out the words of Charles Wesley’s great hymn, O thou who camest from above.
The third verse begins with the words:
Jesus confirm my heart’s desire
to work and speak and think for thee;
I immediately remembered the moment when singing these words had choked me up so much I had had to stop singing, during a Pentecost service 12 years ago. Even more embarrassing as I was one of the only people around me singing!
I had retired early from General Practice following a difficult cancer journey. I longed to serve God more fully in my retirement for as long as I remained well, but there appeared to be no openings. I had become very disillusioned.
But those words were powerful. They were my prayer and God honoured them. Within a month of singing those words I had begun the amazing and exhilarating journey towards ministry, initially as a Licensed lay Minister in the Oxford Diocese and now priestly ministry in and around Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor.
Although I remember clearly my heartfelt prayer as I sang the hymn at Pentecost twelve years ago, I had forgotten how much it had meant to me even before I was married and had begun working as a junior doctor. However, quite unexpectedly, on Monday, after the ordination service, I found a copy of our own marriage service, from October 1979. We had sung that hymn at our wedding! I believe Jesus was gently pointing out to me that He has now confirmed my heart’s desire to work and speak and think for Him, and He has been working towards that goal for the last 42 years!
Thank you very much indeed for the extremely generous gift of money to commemorate my ordination as Priest.
To celebrate my ordination I had a new white stole specially embroidered for the occasion. With your generous cheque, I have decided to ask the same lady to embroider butterflies on a green stole for me, for ordinary time. Many, many thanks.
Rosie’s Ordination Reflection:
Hazel Butland and I were ordained Deacon on 12 September 2020. It was a very different service to those held in previous years, when the cathedral would normally be packed to the rafters with ordinands from all across the diocese and their supporters from all corners of the country. The singing would be loud and the cheers and applause roof-raising. Instead, given the pandemic, there were four ordinations held across the weekend, with four ordinands at each service, and five supporters for each ordinand. Masks were worn and social distancing was maintained throughout, and the only singing was done by a portion of the Cathedral Choir.
Nevertheless, it was a wonderful service, the usual hubbub replaced by a stillness and intimacy which was very special. It was equally special to know that family and friends were watching the live stream, praying and cheering us on virtually if not in person. For myself, it was a wonderful marker of God’s faithfulness and generosity after the long process of discernment and training. I was very aware of the weight of the calling: deacons are asked to “work with their fellow members [of the church] in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible”. Thankfully we declare that we do so by the help of God!
It was wonderful then to be welcomed to the Eucharist at St Eustachius the next day and to reaffirm our Declarations in front of the congregation, and to be given such beautiful flowers and a generous book token. Thank you too for the many of you that I know watched the live stream, and have been praying for us both. I have been very warmly welcomed over the last three months, and I am beginning to feel at home in the churches of the benefice and the wider community. I’m looking forward to everything that the next few years holds in store!
To see the Ordination Service, please click on video link below