Vicar's Letter - August 2017

    Vicar’s letter August 2017 –  A Life Lived for God

At the start of July, as in every church year, deacons and priests were ordained in cathedrals up and down the land. The services are filled with symbolism and pageantry as these people make commitments to live in obedience before God. Many friends and family members support them. There are also those who come to fill the sacred spaces from the churches where they have trained and been assigned to take on these roles.
This year at Winchester Cathedral I was privileged to sit up at the very front of the proceedings as our curate Mary was ordained priest. The evening light streamed in through the great golden west window of the cathedral onto the nave full of worshippers. The Bishop was welcoming and informal whilst always dealing with the solemn aspects of the service with great care and respect.
After the singing of hymns and the preaching of a good sermon each new priest was asked to make oaths which allow them to minister in the Anglican church. The Bishop, who implores God’s spirit to equip and empower them in their future ministry, then blesses them individually. Each one is given a Bible as a sign of the source of the truth that they will proclaim. There is then a very moving time of exchanging peace with others which extends well into the next hymn and sometimes beyond. Then all share in the sacrament of Holy Communion where the sacrifice of Jesus is remembered. We make our way from all across the great space of the cathedral to stand and wait for the wafer and the wine. As we did this there was a wonderful moment when the music group led the congregation in singing a more contemporary song that tells of the all the reasons we have to be thankful to God.
At the end of the service everyone spills out onto the cathedral green for the official photos with the Bishop, something that has always happened, even before our current fascination of recording every moment as an image to share on social media.
It was a service that was filled with a deep sense of hope and joy. This year, in our diocese alone, fifteen more people committed to live their lives as priests. We might forget in our strongly secular society that this event continues as it has done down through many hundreds of years. But the power of Jesus to transform the lives of individuals has not diminished. Of this I am certain for he has certainly been at work in mine. To God be the Glory.

May the God of glory be with us all.                                                       Neil



Vicar's Letter
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