Amma Sue - June 2014

posted 8 Jul 2014, 09:21 by Richard Jones   [ updated 8 Jul 2014, 09:21 ]

Dear Friends 

 Teach us, Good Lord to serve you as you deserve. To give and not count the cost; to fight and not heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest. To labour and not to ask for any reward except that of knowing that we do Your Will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. 

 So goes the prayer of that great soldier of Christ, St Ignatius of Loyola the founder of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuit Order as it is more generally known.  This prayer has been much in my mind recently as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England. As someone who is old enough to have been part of the long struggle to allow women to become ordained, and as one of the ‘first generation’ of women who could candidate for priesthood and not simply the diaconate these celebrations are particularly meaningful. I can well remember being present at the first ordinations of women at Liverpool Cathedral and the joy and emotions of the memory of the momentous moment when the women at whose side I had campaigned for so long were vested with their priestly stoles can still bring a tear to my eye. 

 Ordination of course is not the only way that God chooses to further the work and mission of the Body of Christ, we are all members of the Body and all have our own particular ministry and task within it.  Nevertheless, ordination is always a great moment as well as a daunting prospect, for no one can lightly take up the responsibility of being a Deacon or Priest or Bishop in God’s Church – indeed no one is ever worthy or good enough. The call comes from God who will provide the strength and purpose for the task.

Ordination is not simply a personal and individual thing either, for the call to be a Bishop, Priest or Deacon is a call to and from the whole Church and quite rightly the whole Church is involved in discerning the call of the individual man or woman; for each parish is not independent of the Church of God, simply the local expression of God’s Church in this place and ministry both of the ordained and laity is God’s ministry not ours.

Nevertheless, God does speak to individuals and calls them to consider ordination; and God doesn’t seem to be put off by gender, age or education either, God calls all kinds of people to the ministry of Priest or Deacon, Reader or Pastoral Assistant. Is God perhaps calling you?  Have you ever heard that little voice or had that nagging thought and pushed it aside? If you have,  next time it crosses your mind, give heed to it and see where it takes you. And of course, you can always come and chat to me about it anytime! 

God bless you all!

Amma Sue