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'Keep eyes on Jesus and you will shine' new priests told

Bishop Lindsay Urwin tells ordinands they offer a "mighty gift" to the church and world

PHOTO: Janine Eastgate

By Chris Shearer

November 28 2018


Twenty-three newly ordained Anglican priests have been told they are to be “lights in the dullness of secularism” and will offer a “mighty gift” to the world.

The new priests were ordained in a service led by Archbishop Philip Freier in St Paul’s Cathedral on 24 November, and are destined for a variety of ministry roles.

Among them are two that will minister in Karen speaking congregations, another that will lead a Chinese speaking congregation, two school chaplains, a chaplain each for the defence force and Victoria Police, several who will minister in new church plants, and a missionary. 

Director of Theological Education in the Diocese of Melbourne, Bishop Brad Billings, told TMA the ordination was one of the largest and most diverse in terms of ministry roles in recent years. 

“The variety of roles in which the new priests will minister reflects the changing and emerging needs of ministry and the imperative to make the Word of God fully known across the rich diversity of Melbourne and Geelong,” he said. 

The almost two dozen candidates were told by Bishop Lindsay Urwin, Vicar of Christ Church Brunswick, that they now belonged to a community that will shine “lights in the dullness of secularism”. 

“Keep your eyes upon Jesus and you will shine,” he said during his sermon. “Brothers and sisters, if you seek to do these things you will be a gift, a mighty gift, to the Church and to the world. 

“You are to help by being unlike them. It’s not a question of you being a little more upright and respectable than normal people. You are to be a character filled with the love of God. Nothing else will do. 

“Some people may reject you because of it. Some will laugh at you because of it. Some will find you disconcerting because of it. Some may treat you with disdain because of it. They may entirely reject you because of it, because they experience your godly life as a rebuke. All these things you must be ready for and be ready to accept in the same way your saviour accepted such things. 

“But my experience is, that in even the frail attempts in my own life to be salt and light, sometimes, one by one… folk will make their way to you. They will. Even if they don’t realise they are searching for God, they are. And you may lead them to him. 

“And if on the great day there is one person who has been brought to faith in Jesus Christ, has been brought to new life in him, because you made yourself available to the Lord for his purposes, a myriad of angels will sing praise. The saints will welcome you, and you will hear the most blessed voice saying to you: ‘well done to you, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Lord’.”