Ordination in a Pandemic

The 2020 Deacons of Diocese of Bath and Wells with Bishop Trevor outside Wells Cathedral

Amidst the many things to grieve and lament during the pandemic there have been some blessings to celebrate. One of these blessings has been seeing many churches embracing technology to broadcast services. These have enabled those who could not be in a church to be there. Some have been interactive and allowed people to participate fully within the service, some have enabled people to add comments to the service as it happens and afterwards, and some have been presented to be watched and used for worship at a time that suits the watcher. I reflect on this often on my Twitter account, and intend to write a blog post on it in the future.

The pandemic caused the ordinations of Priests and Deacons at Petertide (June/July) to be cancelled. There were rescheduled for Michaelmas (September/October) once ways of conducting them safely had been found. In the meantime those who had been due to start their curacies as Deacons were licensed to start them as Lay Workers until the ordinations could take place.

Both the licensing and ordination services were broadcasted online. It is fitting that they be included on this blog, a blog that has shared the journey from initial wonderings about a calling to ordination to being ordained with the online community.

The Licensing Service for Lay Workers in the Diocese of Bath and Wells

This service took place at 10:00 on Sunday, 28th June 2020, the date on which the ordinations had been planned to take place. The service took the form of a video-conference using the Zoom platform and was broadcasted live to Facebook and the Diocesan website, before being added to YouTube later. My thoughts leading into this service can be read in the blog post Would Have, Will Have.

More details of the service are available here, but the service booklet with all the words, prayers and names in, is can be downloaded here and the service watched below.

The Ordination of Deacons in the Diocese of Bath and Wells

Originally 1 service had been planned for the 19 Ordinands due to be ordained. The measures to keep everyone safe from catching the Coronavirus meant that 4 services were needed to ordain each person. My service took place at 2pm on Sunday 28th September 2020 and included my friend Steve Rogers who I wrote about in Would Have, Will Have.

The service booklet with all the words, prayers and names in, is can be downloaded here and the service watched below.

My reaction to the service and being ordained was captured on video by the Diocese of Bath & Wells Comms Team.

Photos

Getting my Curacy License

Feet in a paddling pool and a hand holding a book on the Priesthood.
Getting cold feet… in a paddling pool.

In normal circumstances I would have said goodbye to my family and gone away for a pre-ordination retreat this week. There 18 others waiting to be ordained as a Deacon, and others waiting to be ordained as a Priest, would have gathered away from the hustle and bustle of life to pray, contemplate and prepare for the change in identity about to come.

But these are not normal circumstances. The Coronavirus Pandemic that has claimed and devastated lives across the world has impacted ordinations as well. We cannot yet safely gather in large groups so the collective retreat isn’t possible. Nor are the ordination services which requires a bishop to lay their hands upon the ordination candidate — in part to maintain apostolic succession. I will start my curacy as a Licensed Lay Worker before, hopefully, being ordained as a Deacon on 27th September 2020 (should it be safe to do so).

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