The Joy of
The Joy of Ordained Ministry
The Revd Canon Dr Philip Raymont, Chair, Archbishop’s Examining Chaplains’ Committee and Priest-in-Charge, Parishes of Beverly-Brookton, Quairading and York
It is now 10 months since I commenced my ministry as the Priest-in-Charge of the Parishes of Beverley-Brookton, Quairading, and York. In early March, I wrote a letter which was distributed to people of the Parish of Beverley-Brookton; in part, the letter offered some reflections upon my time in the Avon Valley.
In the letter I stated, ‘As someone who always wears a clerical shirt and collar, I have experienced warmth in the reception from others, while unsurprisingly there have been those prepared to engage in some banter with me, while some have sought more demanding conversation over more serious matters.
I am grateful to the friendliness shown to me by younger people as this grey-haired clergyperson seeks to engage them in conversation; I find them open minded, and to some extent, intrigued.
Amongst those with no association with the Church there seems to be pleasure in knowing that someone lives in the Rectory in York for which much gratitude is extended to the Diocese for the work achieved in its repair and refurbishment, making it a very agreeable home.
I am grateful to those who are regular in their worship and to those who acknowledge their Anglican heritage. I value greatly the work and leadership of Wardens, Parish Councillors, Secretaries, Treasurers, and Lay Pastoral Ministers, etc who continue to sustain the life of the Church in this region.’
One of my final observations was ‘I gain a sense that for some people, be they churched or not, that in these times, and places, when all too often services and businesses are leaving, the return of a full-time residential clergyperson across the region is appreciated and celebrated’. I suspect that this observation, while true also in other parts of our rural areas, would be just as true in the suburbs of Perth.
There is sadly a particularly good reason for why we find many of our parishes vacant in the Diocese, and that is the need for more people to be ordained. If more people are to be ordained, we need more people to offer themselves to the process of discernment by being obedient to God in his call upon their lives. I can speak with some conviction and experience in this matter, for I was for much of my life, one of those people who sought always to avoid having to deal with the possibility. Finally, it was an Examining Chaplain who ‘persuasively encouraged’ me to take the necessary first steps. Nowadays I wonder why I was so disobedient to God’s call on my life, while also delighting in the possibilities that are before me in my parish ministry, having enjoyed already twelve years in school chaplaincy in this Diocese.
May I encourage all members of the Diocese to either seek personally to investigate more fully the possibility of a discernible call to ordained ministry, or to ensure that anyone they know, and feel should do so, does. There are many who live within that which is the Kingdom of God in the Diocese of Perth yearning for the ministry of ordained people to bring to them, and encourage them, to live out, proclaim, and be the Good News that is the Christian Faith.
May I commend to you a regime whereby, through prayer and discussion with friends and your local clergy or chaplain, you also take the crucial step of arranging to speak with either me, The Revd Canon Dr Philip Raymont, Chair, Archbishop’s Examining Chaplains, or The Revd Jacob Legarda, the Archbishop’s Vocations Liaison.
Christ, whose insistent call disturbs our settled lives:
give us discernment to hear your word,
grace to relinquish our tasks,
and courage to follow empty-handed
wherever you may lead,
so that the voice of your gospel may reach to the ends of the earth. Amen.
To start that conversation simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information about the pathway to ordination can be found on the Vocations section of the Diocesan website. There will also be a Vocations Afternoon organised by, and at, Wollaston Theological College on Sunday, 7 August commencing at 12.30pm.