From Revd David Newton, Team Vicar in the Lordsbridge Team:
Last weekend ordinations took place across the country. From the Lordsbridge Team of Churches 3 people were ordained deacon. Amy Bland was ordained in Blackburn, Adam Roebuck (who had been on placement with Haslingfield and Comberton) was meant to be ordained in York (delayed to this coming week due to Contact Tracing Isolation), and Chris Westgarth was ordained in Ely!
Chris Westgarth re-joins us as a Self-Supporting and Part Time Curate. She will be primarily based in Comberton, working out her ministry in the church where she was warden until she started training last year. She’ll still be working, and doing significant study, as well as continuing on Comberton Parish Council, and re-engaging with chaplaincy at the hospital!
Chris has been ordained a ‘deacon’. You don’t get ordained as a curate – that’s a job descriptor. Instead, you are ordained to an office. Deacon, Presbyter or Bishop. Everyone who is ordained, is first ordained a deacon. At the service a commission is read out that explains what the role of a deacon is:
Deacons are called to work with the Bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ’s kingdom. They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God’s purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.
Deacons share in the pastoral ministry of the Church and in leading God’s people in worship. They preach the word and bring the needs of the world before the Church in intercession. They accompany those searching for faith and bring them to baptism. They assist in administering the sacraments; they distribute communion and minister to the sick and housebound.
Deacons are to seek nourishment from the Scriptures; they are to study them with God’s people, that the whole Church may be equipped to live out the gospel in the world. They are to be faithful in prayer, expectant and watchful for the signs of God’s presence, as he reveals his kingdom among us.
For all who are ordained, this is the foundational commission. It is an exciting calling, that is outward facing – serving the community, searching into the forgotten corners. We pray for Chris and all ordained deacon at this time, that the Spirit may equip them with all they need for such a calling as this.