New deacons encouraged to seek out, embrace God's word

Nineteen new deacons were ordained in St Paul's Cathedral on 8 February

By Chris Shearer

February 13 2020Nineteen new deacons have been ordained in a service held at St Paul’s Cathedral on 8 February.

The nine women and 10 men ranged in age from those in their twenties to others in their sixties, which Director of Theological Education Bishop Brad Billings said reflected “the diversity of the Church and its ministry”.

Among those ordained, one will minister in a Chinese-speaking context, one French and another in Indonesian.

One of the new ordinands will take a position as a permanent Deacon, one will go on to be a school chaplain, and the others will minister in a variety of parish roles, including ministries to children and young people.

“The ordination was a joyous service and an indication that there continues to be a sense of renewal, vitality and mission across the Anglican Church in Melbourne and Geelong,” Bishop Billings told TMA.

The sermon was delivered by the Revd Denise Nicholls, Vicar of Banyule Anglican Church, who told the ordinands that the day was about encouraging them to continue to seek out God’s empowerment as they took up new roles in the Church.

“As you take this next step in service of Christ, as you serve Him and serve his church, seek the mind of God, study the word of God, to be equipped for the mission of the son of God, to take your part in the building up of the Church of God,” she said.

Speaking on the first reading of the service, Ms Nicholls said the ordinands should consider King Solomon’s request to God when they thought about what they’d need as they entered into these new ministry roles.

“King Solomon recognised the greatness of his task to be a leader of God’s own people, chosen by God and precious to Him. And so he requested an understanding mind. What a great, what a wonderful request.

“For you my friends, our ordinands today, the people who you will serve in your places of service are God’s people. You too need to have a wise and understanding mind, so ask God daily for His wisdom as you serve His people.”

She also noted the significance of the reading of Psalm 119, which “speaks of the God who speaks, and the pre-eminence of God’s word in the life of his people”.

“In a few moments our ordinands will commit themselves to study and obey the word of God, and commit themselves to be preaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus, the word of God Himself.

“The psalmist says ‘how can we hold to your word? Only if we treasure in our hearts God’s word’. And so, with the psalmist we pray for our ordinands today that God would teach them his statutes, that they would meditate on God’s precepts and give heed to God’s way,” she said.

“Today our ordinands have a common mind and heart to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim the good news about God’s welcome to all those who would trust in him.”

Ms Nicholls also offered her own advice to the new ordinands.

“As you have listened to Jesus’ call to mission my friends, a couple of things to remember: it’s Jesus’ mission, and you’re not him. Keep returning to the Lord Jesus. Keep taking those times of rest and refreshment with him,” she said.

“So my friends, use your gifts for God’s people. Remember that they are God’s people. Know them. Love them. Use God’s gifts. But a little warning: don’t think you are God’s gift.”