“Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work?”
On Saturday, November 11, at 11:00 a.m., Bishop Sloan will be among us to ordain Jamie Lee Osborne to the Sacred Order of Priests. Jamie has been approved by the councils of the Church, has served his time as transitional deacon, and now, through the laying on of hands by the bishop and priests and the conveying of the Holy Spirit, he will be made a priest in the Episcopal Church. Thereafter he will step into even fuller partnership in leading this congregation in its mission to worship God and make disciples for Jesus Christ. Having had to wait for years now, he will be entrusted with consecrating the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ and pronouncing blessings and absolution in the Name of our Lord and Savior.
Coming to be a priest is a slow and arduous process. When people present themselves to the Church and express interest in ordination, the Church in many ways tells them to slow down and wait. It takes at least a year of meeting with a sponsoring priest, then at least another year of gaining the support of a diocese, then at least three years of seminary education, then at least six months of service as a transitional deacon. Then, finally, the Church allows for that which the candidates have experienced a call.
And the Church’s part is the quicker one. The call itself is typically something that takes years to develop. Jamie can look back a number of years in his life to the beginnings of his call to ordination. Such calls feel so substantial and represent such sacrifice that most people take a number of years to process the call. In our tradition no one pops up one day with the impulse to be priest and is allowed to move along quickly. Discernment takes years.
The call always begins in a deeply personal way. Those who seek ordination will report a sense of being chosen by God for service. There is a deepening of faith and the observation of God’s hand at work all around them. Not all conversion stories end up in ordination but all ordinations begin with some sort of conversion experience where God touches one’s heart and won’t let go. The whole world seems to open up.
As candidates move forward toward ordination, their worlds necessarily get smaller and smaller. God’s grace continues to be revealed in larger and larger ways but those seeking ordination find that their call is not to serve as a free agent out and about in the big world; those ordained take a vow to serve God within a pretty small institution called the Episcopal Church and to be faithful to it in particular. Just as those getting married experience love as a gift from God but take a vow to love one person, priests experience a call from God but take vows to the Church. That’s how our world gets smaller. We are not taking some individual vow to serve God as we think best. We take a vow to serve the Church as it shares Christ with the world.
Jamie, Candice, and I are certainly individuals with significantly differing strengths and characteristics. We are not the same and that is a very good thing. But as we take ordination vows, we agree that who we are as individuals is less important than the office of priesthood. Always we represent something beyond ourselves. When we are ordained we say that the Church matters more than we do as individuals. We agree to live within that limitation. Obedience involves sacrifice but faithfulness is its own reward. It teaches us about the ways of God and reveals the ways of God to others.
As Jamie’s world gets smaller in some ways with the vows he will take, God’s kingdom keeps getting bigger and bigger. Priests are called to speak to the Church about the vastness of God’s grace and to live within the community of faith as witnesses. That marvelous grace has brought us this fine servant of the Gospel and we are most grateful for God’s abundance and Jamie’s character. Already we see in him a holiness of presence and a purity of heart that many priests still pray for even after years of ordination. Jamie has touched us with God’s grace, his family has literally embraced us, and we celebrate this wonderful step in Jamie’s life.
“Therefore, Father, through Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to Jamie; fill him with grace and power, and make him a priest in your Church.”
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Special Events Around the Corner
Grounds Clean Up Day – November 5 at noon
Ordination to the Priesthood for Jamie Osborne – November 11 at 11:00 am
Bazaar – November 15 – 10:00-2:00
Thanksgiving Eve Eucharist – November 22 at 6:00 pm
Stop Hunger Now – November 26 – need 100 volunteers!
Advent Wreath Making – Wednesday, November 29 – 5:30 pm Eucharist, 6:00 supper and wreaths
Adult Classes October 29 – December 10
The Book of Psalms – Led By Robert Wisnewski, meeting in the Archives Room
Introduction to the Enneagram through Literature – Led by Karen Funk and Carroll Nason, meeting in the Library
Living the Good News Bible Study – Led by Dudley Perry, meeting in the Small Dining Room
Aid to Puerto Rico
Many of you have asked how you might support the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after the recent and devastating hurricane. There is still little power on the island and in many places no water to drink or bathe in or to flush toilets. In the short term you may donate to the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico (www.gemn.org/donate-to-diocese-of-puerto-rico-hurricane-fund/ or the Episcopal Relief and Development organization of the Episcopal Church (episcopalrelief.org). The recovery effort there will take years and there will ways longer term of helping. Parishioner Delia Cerpa still has family in Puerto Rico and you may contact her at email@example.com. Please keep the people in Puerto Rico in your prayers.