Fr David Mason’s Ordination, Sunday 18th October 2015

On Sunday 18th  October 2015 The Feast Day of St Luke, the Cathedral and Priory Church of St Katherine was the setting for the Ordination of Deacon David Mason. The day commenced with Morning Prayer in the Lady Chapel followed by the Ordination Mass. Bishop Ian Gray officiated supported by Canon Geoffrey Andow and Father Brian Uffindell also in attendance were Bishop Brian Marsh ACA / TAC United States, Archbishop Shane Jansen ACCCA / TAC Canada and Bishop John Fenwick, Free Church of England. Bishop Marsh preached a superbly moving sermon to a wonderful congregation consisting of the worshipping community from the Cathedral and the friends and family of David. Father David will serve at the Cathedral in the role of Precentor.

+Ian

Sermon/Charge preached by
Bishop Brian Marsh. ACA / TAC United States,

October 18, 2015
The Ordination of Deacon David Mason to the Priesthood
St. Katherine’s Anglican Cathedral
Lincoln, England.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

            Greetings to you all on this very special occasion.  It is certainly an honour to be asked to preach at Deacon David Mason’s ordination to the Priesthood,  It is also a joy to be here once again at the cathedral of the Traditional Anglican Church in Britain. When I was last here, it was my honour to assist in the consecration of my good friend Bishop Ian Gray to the episcopate.  It is wonderful to share fellowship with him once again and to visit this beautiful part of the world.  As a visitor from across the pond, I will do my best to be worthy of the task ahead of me on this day.

            My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is certainly a day of celebration and a day of renewal.  We have come to this particular place and at this particular time to do Gods work.  The ordination of a man to the priesthood is a Holy task of the church, one in which we participate in the work of the Holy Spirit, And all here on this day will indeed participate in the work of the spirit.

The ordination of a man to the priesthood is not the decision to be made lightly.  It is also not the decision of any one individual.  Ordination is granted by the grace of God.  The church has done its best to understand the discern of God’s will, to understand what it is that God desires, I am well aware that many in the Traditional Anglican Church in Britain have asked the question: is it God’s will that this man before us be ordained to the sacred priesthood?  And the church has discerned, after much prayer and reflection, after much examination and consultation, that Deacon David Mason has been called by God to be ordained to the priesthood.  And to serve God’s holy church.  We do not undertake our obligation to God lightly or unadvisedly. We accomplish our work today with humility and grace, filled with joy in the work of the church and praying fervently that the ministry here begun may bear rich fruit and help to grow God’s holy church.

            My brother, what was the first time you heard the call from God?  What was the moment when you became certain that God had truly called you?  Whenever that was, on that day you began your lengthy journey to holy orders.  Yours may not have been a smooth or comfortable journey.  Perhaps it has been filled with twists and turns, doubt, confusion and prayers for discernment. “Please God,” you may well have prayed, “Show me the way.”  But the journeys to holy orders and are rarely full of ease. They are not meant to be.  They are meant to be filled with challenge, frequent confusion, occasional heartache and the odd complaint here and there.  All this is God’s way of tempering us for the work he has called us to do.  But I know that if the call to holy orders is authentic, your ministry will be filled with wonder, grace and infinite joy.  And I pray your journey will be long and productive in the service of God’s holy church.  But there is one thing that seems very clear:  God has been certain of your call.  He has called you by name.  And you have responded to that call.  And we here witness to the truth of your calling.

            God has given you a journey.  And he has known that your journey would lead precisely here.  He has known this from the beginning of time.  It is the rest of us that have had to seek out the directions.  We have had to follow God’s guidance.  We have had to learn God’s way.  We have had to read the signs. One of the guides on my own journey was Lancelot Andrewes.  He will likely need no introduction here, but I often give a brief overview to my American congregations.  But I trust he will be a guiding light to you as well, my brother.  Bishop Andrewes was a superb preacher.  He was the favourite preacher of James 1. I feel compelled to tell my American friends that he was the English king who commissioned a certain authorised version of the Bible.  It’s always fun to see their reaction. Oh yeah, that guy!  The poetic rhythms of that book are ones that are so familiar to us.  They have influenced our language profoundly.  It is a reminder to us how powerful words can be in the spreading of the gospel message.  Bishop Lancelot Andrewes was also a great biblical scholar.  He knew Greek and Hebrew.  He helped translate the King James Bible.  He defended the catholicity of the Church of England against its critics.  And he was a man of prayer.  He wrote a beautiful book of private prayers, a book so beautiful in its understanding of prayer that it is still in use today.  Lancelot Andrewes book of private prayers is a masterpiece.  Here is an example of how Lancelot Andrewes prayed when he awoke each day:

“Thou who sendeth forth the light, createst the morning,
maketh the sun to rise on the good and on the evil;
enlighten the blindness of our minds with the knowledge of thy truth:
Lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us, that we may see light,
and, at the last, in the light of grace the light of glory.”

It is a reminder to you, my brother in Christ, and to us all: Keep the prayer with you at all times.  Every thing is given to us by God.  Wonderful words of prayer.  But it is in another few words that we have come to know Lancelot Andrewes so very well.  The great poet T.S. Eliot borrowed the words from one of Bishop Andrewes sermons to write the travels of the Magi, who went on an impossible journey and found the incarnate God who had come to earth to redeem it for all time. Lancelot Andrewes wrote this:

“What a cold coming they had of it,
Just the worst time of year
For such a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”

They travelled a long way, those Magi, to find the God of their creation.

That was their Journey.  Now it is time to turn towards your own individual journey to this place.  A journey that is-and will be-unique to you.  Yours will be a very particular expression of God’s work in the world.  First, we must recognise your call to holy orders.  God has sought you out and claimed you. You are now to become God’s own in ways that are new and different.  Ordination will change you.  Enbrace that change.  Listen always to God’s voice in your life.

            In a few moments, you will make a series of promises and declarations.  These pledges are made to God and His people.  Listen carefully.  Refer to them often.  What are they all about?  In Gods world, perfection is not always demanded.  It is faithfulness that is honoured.  It is faithfulness that is required of you.  Faithfulness to God.  Faithfulness to the church.

            And now it is my privilege to ask you to stand before this congregation, to listen to a particular charge.  Your bishop has granted me a great honour in permitting me to give this charge to you.  He has shared some of your professional accomplishments.  I have learned of your gift as a healer, someone with a background in nursing, particularly to those who have had psychological illnesses.  Such is the calling of a pastor.  You have musical gifts as well.  You are a musician: an organist and musical director.  You enjoy watching rugby (whatever that is).  And I was particularly taken with one item that appears on your CV.  You apparently take great pleasure in watching 1950s Science Fiction B movies.  If there is anything that could prepare a man for the service of God’s church it is surely that!

You bring many gifts to the church.  Offer them up to God and to His faithful people.  You are a priest of God.  All else is to serve that end.  And your work, joyful as I pray it may be, will not always be easy.  You will face obstacles and opposition, both outside the church and within it as well.  Stay true to your promises.  Avoid the Pharisees of the church.  They will always be there.  Whether the High Church ideologues or the Low Church sentimentalists; whether the ones who regard the church as a great club of the cassock set or as unempirical, old fashioned dreamers…. Hold to the faith.  Pray continually.  Love God.  And love every one of His dearly loved children.  And when one of those detractors approaches you with malice or just simple mischievousness in his heart – see him as a child of God, loved by God.  It will bring a smile to your heart.  And may just melt his own, too.  You my brother are a man of considerable knowledge.  Do not let that knowledge blind you to your true mission, which is to bring the love of God to a hurting and needy world.  Use your great gifts to bring God’s love present to all.

It is now time; to fulfill the wish of God and the discernment of His people.  It is time to complete this part of your great journey. Time for those of us who have travelled part of this journey with you to witness the arrival.

But before we do, let us turn once again to the words of Lancelot Andrewes; let us turn to his prayer….
Let us pray:

“Thyself, o my God, Thyself for thine own sake, above all things else I love.  Thyself I desire.  Thyself as my last end I long for.  Thyself for mine own sake, not aught else whatsoever, always and in all things I seek with all my heart and marrow, with groaning and weeping, with unbroken toil and grief…. Make me therefore, o best my God, in life present always to love Thyself  for Thyself before all things, to seek Thee in all things, and at the last in the life to come to find and keep Thee forever.  Amen.

Father David Ordination 18th Oct 2015 007 Rev. Canon Geffory Andow, Archbishop Brian Marsh. Bishop Ian Gray. Fr David Mason.
Archbishop Shane Jansen. Fr. Brian Uffindell

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Father David after the Ordination

Father David Ordination 18th Oct 2015 008

Fr David with his family From left to right
Lorraine Brown (Niece). Dave Richardson. Charlie Richardson (Great Nephew) and Gillian Brown (Sister).

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Fr. David gives a blessing after his Ordination.

 

 

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