Now THIS is an ordination retreat
The man from feig-city just got priested…
Last wednesday I headed off on my ordination retreat.
We went to Glenfall House – the diocesan retreat centre in the countryside outside Cheltenham. It was an amzing setting for spending time thinking, reading, praying and contemplating what was about to happen to me and also for reflecting hard on the past year in Gloucester.
The retreat was led by Revd. Paul Bayes, the Archbishop’s adviser on evangelism.
he was excellent.
everyone being ordained either priest or deacon (23 in total) gathered four times a day for prayer / worship and Paul gave an address each time.
He went into some deep stuff and spoke humbly, profoundly and without notes.
The rest of the retreat (apart from lunch and dinner) was in silence. No chatting.
No TV, no internet, no shopping, no constant babble of background noise – just space to hear from God.
During the services, we also had the chance for some pretty deep symbolic liturgical stuff.
The bishop washed our feet, there was also the chance for prayer for wholeness and reconciliation (which involved the bishop placing his hands on our heads and praying, and then using oil to make the sign of the cross on our foreheads).
We renewed our baptism vows – and also had the chance to ‘make our confession’ if needs be.
All stuff that is advocated in scripture, and all helpful external realities that signify a much deeper internal reality.
Anyway, the retreat was ace and I am grateful for the chance to have done it.
Saturday was the day of ordination and, although it didn’t seem as powerful to me as last year’s, it was a profoundly deep time.
It felt more real this year, in that everyone from our community was there. There was also the fact that I now know and respect the cathedral staff, who were able to gather round at the moment of ordination and prayerfully support me.
So, I am now a priest.
I guess I’m going to spend the rest of my life working out exactly what that means.
I know it is something God has called me to and that is a good start.
I know it means I have a hefty responsibilty for which I will one day have to give an account to God – as the ordination service states: ”Remember always with thanksgiving that the treasure now entrusted to you is Chirst’s own flock, bought by the shedding of his blood on the cross. It is to him you will render an account for your stewardship of his people.”
That’s quite a big deal, and I take it seriously.
I’m happy that the liturgy goes on to say: “You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God.”
Are you reading this, peeps in other dioceses (especially those DDOs who sort out these kind of things). This is the kind of thing we need to be doing yet some dioceses are cutting down their ordination retreats to just 2 days. 2 days!!!!