top of page

Reflections on My Ordination to the Priesthood

Anglican Ordination

It’s been a week now since I was ordained to the priesthood and thought I would share some of my reflections:

 

Finding Anglicanism

God called me to the ministry in my early teens. Yet, I frequently felt like a square peg in a round hole in the churches I was a part of. I was schooled in a Roman Catholic school, even though I was protestant. Many years later I rekindled a friendship with an old school friend who had subsequently become a Catholic priest. With countless hours of discussing our church traditions, I explored Catholicism out of curiosity and then some years later I explored Eastern Orthodoxy, again with no interest to convert, but to learn from other more ancient expressions of Christianity. However, there were aspects of these great Christian traditions that I admired, and I longed to share in some of that and yet my evangelical convictions held me back. It took the Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig who suggested in an online interview that those looking to Rome or Orthodoxy should consider Anglicanism. At that point, the penny dropped!

 

Confirmation

It took more than twelve years of soul searching, many conversations, reading as much as I could, and watching countless YouTube videos on Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism. The last four years of the twelve were taken up with the discernment and ordination process. I first had to be confirmed as an Anglican. I remember, with great excitement, being confirmed in the Anglican church. There I was, a theologian with a PhD sitting among 16 or so teenagers in their parish church waiting to be confirmed. It was good to be reminded that in God’s eyes, we are all equal, regardless of age, race, and qualifications, they mean nothing to him, all he wants is our hearts and our faithfulness.

 

Towards Ordination

Once confirmed, I was able to attend the Fellowship of Vocation (FOV) with about seven other people for a few months and had the opportunity to visit several other Anglican parishes. The idea was to learn what it might mean to be an Anglican priest. Once I had done that my wife and I were invited to the Vocational Direction Conference (VDC) where both of us had to sit through six interview panels which took just over two hours. The next week I received a formal letter to be ordained as a deacon. In the Anglican tradition, ministers are ordained first as deacons and later as priests. Unlike some of the evangelical traditions, once ordained a deacon you’re always a deacon. The same applies to the priesthood. The anointing to the Holy Orders is for life.

 

Hiccup

A few days after I had received the letter, I was informed that my ordination would be put on hold due to Covid. Despite the pain, confusion, and disappointment, I chose to continue to serve faithfully as a lay minister. After about three months I grew disheartened and felt indifferent about the ordination and laid it before the feet of Jesus. I was still called, so I had settled in my heart that I could serve our congregation faithfully in my current capacity. I had no doubt that God could use me in any way he wished (Romans 8:28).

 

Take-Two…

A year had passed, and our bishop, Eddie Daniels came to visit our parish. He pulled me aside and told me he still wanted to ordain me. It was a long and honest conversation, but it was a good one. He asked me to visit him later the next week and pick up the conversation. About six months later I attended the ordination retreat and was made a deacon four days later. The ordination service was profoundly special, despite the painful delay. And six months later I was ordained into the Anglican priesthood. Both ordinations were lively and about as special as my wedding day, though, of course, they are very different ceremonies. Here are some of the highlights of the ordination into the priesthood:

 

1.     The Vows

Although our formal vows were said and signed a few days before the ordination in front of the bishop and the attorneys, vows were also said on the day of the ordination. Much like during a wedding, promises are made before those present, confirming our belief in the Holy Scriptures; the doctrines of the Christian faith; our loyalty and faithfulness to Christ, his church, and the bishop; that we would take up the responsibility of priests in ministering the Word of God and administering the sacraments; banishing doctrinal error; caring for those in need; promoting unity, peace and love. And then, of course, there is the promise of personal devotion in prayer and the reading and study of Scripture (1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 3:16).

 

2.     Prostration

One of the most solemn moments in the ordination ceremony is the prostration. Lying there, face to the ground while the entire congregation sings, Veni Creator Spiritus, meaning, “Come, Creator Spirit,” you become acutely aware that you are giving your entire life in full submission to Christ and his Church and submitting to the bishop. It’s more than symbolic, it’s a profound act of surrender (Matthew 16:24).

 

3.     Anointing

If the prostration was solemn, the anointing, as solemn as that was too, was powerful. I remember being caught by surprise when I was anointed as a deacon by Bishop Eddie as he placed his hands on my head feeling some kind of celestial power moving from my head throughout my entire body. This time being ordained a priest, I was surrounded by all the priests in the diocese, and kneeling before the bishop I felt somewhat emotionless. I felt nothing, but suddenly, I was caught off guard, just like when I was made a deacon, that same power flowed through me, and all the emotions and the realization of the moment came like a flood. The bishop anointed my head with chrism (holy oil) which signifies the descent of the Holy Spirit, the granting of knowledge and wisdom, and guidance for ministry. He anointed my hands signifying the Holy Spirit’s empowerment in performing the sacraments, blessings, and other practical acts of service (Exodus 29:5–7; 1 John 2:20, 27).

 

4.     Word and Sacrament

While kneeling there, a Bible was handed to me, and laying my hand on it I was charged to preach the Word of God faithfully. And then I was handed a chalice and paten and again, laying my hands on them, I was charged to administer the holy sacraments (Matthew 28:19–20; Luke 22:19–20; 2 Timothy 4:2). Later in the service, the newly ordained priests had the wonderful opportunity to concelebrate the Eucharist with the bishop.

 

5.     Vestments

At this point, I was now ordained a priest, although I was still vested in a deacon’s stole. My family: my wife and two sons, and my mother and father were called up front to help vest me in priestly vestments, the stole and chasuble. What a special and intimate moment that was! I like the vestments because, unlike many pastors especially in mega-churches that sport the latest fashion trend, vestments almost hide the priest, as if to say, “It’s not about you, it’s all about Christ and his work.” And the stole is a reminder, firstly, that we are “yoked” to Christ (Matthew 11:29–30), and secondly, it’s a reminder of our service to others (John 13:1–17). You would have noticed that we were vested in red, a symbol of fire and the Holy Spirit, an appropriate color for ordination. There are other colors, like purple, green, and white for other church seasons and feast days.

 

6.     Oil for the Sick

After we were ordained, we were handed a bottle of oil to anoint the sick (James 5:14–15). I remember the oil being blessed when I attended the Chrism Eucharist during Holy Week. The oil is a powerful reminder that the ministry of a priest is also for the sick and those in need.

 

 

This is what I learned…

It was a long journey, and even when I had given up, God’s calling and his faithfulness remained sure (Romans 11:29; Hebrews 10:23). As we reflect on each of our callings, there may be obstacles along the way, and the process might take longer than expected. There may be pain and disappointment and perhaps even anger at life’s circumstances and yet, Jesus calls us to rest and trust in him. You may be called to ministry, like I am, or to something very different, all Jesus asks of us is to be patient and forgiving, and to be faithful with the little you have even when it hurts.

 

11 Kommentare


Gast
12. Juni

Thank you for sharing this Robert. We celebrate God's faithfulness and your obedience 🙌🏼

Blessings, Shaun & Trudi Joynt

Gefällt mir
Antwort an

Thank you Shaun and Trudi. I have thoroughly enjoyed workig with you, Shaun. I'll miss you, our conversations and banter.


Robert

Gefällt mir

Gast
10. Juni

The Anglican church is blessed to have you join the team of serving ministers. We welcome you!

Gefällt mir

Gast
10. Juni

What a beautiful reflection Robert. I am not surprised by you saying you felt called at school. As your Biblucal Studies and Religious Education teacher I always felt the depth of your faith. May you continue to be God’s instrument of love and service. Every blessing to you your family.

Gefällt mir
Antwort an

Hi Anne, I remember those days very well. They were very formative for me when I look back. Along with several others, you had a huge part to play in all of this. Many blessings to you and your family too.

Robert

Gefällt mir

Gast
09. Juni

Hi Robert, thank you for these beautiful and powerful reflections. It reminds of the extraordinary privilege we have to be called into the ordained ministries.

God is faithful to fulfill His promises only asking faithfulness and perseverance from us.

What a wonder testimony this is of God’s sovereignty.


May you be abundantly blessed in your ministry and calling.


Much Love, Grace and Blessings

Rowan


Gefällt mir
Antwort an

Hi Rowan, yes, exactly. It's an honour to be one of Jesus's priests and to serve him in this way. It was lovely seeing you at the ordination.

Blessings to you and your family.

Robert

Gefällt mir

Gast
08. Juni

Thank you Dr Falconer, it was a blessing to read your reflections on your ordination. As a former SATS student, I admire your scholarly works. And I believe that you will be a blessings to all those you have the honor to serve. May the Lord continue to be glorified in your life and calling. Mareli Csabai

Gefällt mir
Antwort an

Hi Mareli, thank for your message, it's very meaninful. Yes, I remember you at SATS. Blessings to you and your family!

Gefällt mir
bottom of page