The Bishop of Western Sydney, Ivan Lee, has recalled his inspiration for ministry in challenging 34 men and women being ordained as deacons.
The group gathered at St Andrew’s Cathedral in front of family and friends to be ordained by Archbishop Glenn Davies on Saturday, February 18th.
Their ministries range across the diocese and in various roles from church planting, to school chaplaincy, youth work and as assistants in parishes.
Bishop Lee spoke from the book of Matthew, chapters 9 and 10 about the calling of the disciples and Jesus’ famous phrase ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’.
The bishop, who underwent treatment for cancer in the past year, recalled an incident from his university days. “I was sitting down having a chat with the Anglican chaplain...we were in the chaplaincy building looking out the window and the conversation went something like this: “Ivan, what do you see?” I looked out at the huge numbers of students going back and forth, and I said, “Uh, I don’t know, students, trying to get to their lectures on time?” And he said back to me, slowly and with great sadness in his voice, “You know what I see? All I see are hundreds and thousands of lost souls, young people who need to know about Jesus.” That one moment has had a lifelong effect on me, so that to this very day, whenever I look upon a crowd, which is pretty much every day, I see lost souls, without God in their lives.” Bishop Lee exhorted the ordinands to have the same motivation. “I’d like to say to the ordinands, if your heart is not truly broken, not grieving for lost people, then ministry will become a profession, and church growth a KPI, a key performance indicator!” Bishop Lee said. “But what really matters to Jesus, and ought to matter to us, is lost people and the spiritual need all around us.”
The ordinands included several who already had other family members in full-time ministry including Bronwyn Kyngdon whose father was the former assistant to the Bishop of Wollongong and whose brother was ordained in 2015, and James Galea, son of the rector of Rooty Hill, Ray Galea. The cathedral was packed with family and supporters.
Ordinand Philip Rademaker, an assistant minister at Belrose, was supported by a contingent from his congregation. “My wife just gave birth two days ago and I am running on adrenalin - even through that just the gravity of what we are promising but also the support of seeing so many people there affirming us - I am feeling the weight but also I am really excited to be part of God’s mission.” Mr Rademaker said.
His situation is unusual as he has muscular dystrophy. “My reflection on the service and the whole process leading up to ordination is that it is now more accessible and easier than ever for people with disabilities to serve God as clergy. It is an encouragement to me that as we read the New Testament and see people from all tribes, all nations, all backgrounds but also of every different type of person is called to serve in ministry as they are gifted. So I would really be encouraged to see other people with disabilities ordained, serving in ministry, using the gifts that God has given them and being seen as gifts to the church.”
James Dayhew had a long road to ordination, having been a teacher and involved in parachurch ministry since the 1990s. He has been chaplain at Nowra Anglican College for three years. “Today was really special, it actually exceeded my expectations. The school was exceptionally supportive - I have the Principal and some council members here. They were very supportive in giving me the time and freedom to do extra study and prepare for this so and the students were really excited too. I have had one student for the past year when can we start calling you ‘rev’. So I saw him on Friday and I said ‘on Monday’.
The full list of ordinands is:
Joshua Ackland Eastgardens
Benjamin Allen Toongabbie
Thomas Batty Harbour Church
Timothy Beilharz Youthworks
Mark Bolas Penrith
Christopher Booth Guildford with Villawood
Grant Borg Rooty Hill
David Brackenbury Unichurch (UNSW)
Andrew Brown Barker College
Andrew Bryan Surry Hills
Nathan Cheung Chester Hill with Sefton
James Dayhew Nowra Anglican College
Jennifer Everist Miranda
James Galea Kirribilli
Suzanne Gorham Roseville College
Mitchell Herps Camden
Hugh Jonas St Philip’s, Auburn
Bronwyn Kyngdon Anglicare
Andrew Kyrios Sans Souci
Craig Langstaff West Wollongong
Esmond Lau Liverpool
Jason Law Malabar
Ian Lobb Wilberforce
Philip Lui Riverwood-Punchbowl
John Mahoney Mulgoa
Joshua Murphy Nowra
Cameron Noakes Leppington (ENC)
Philip Rademaker Belrose
Mark Schroder Broughton Anglican College/Campbelltown
Elizabeth Strachan Robert Menzies College/Macquarie University
Matthew Straw Willoughby
Michael Taylor Forestville
Peter Tuck Castle Hill
Edward Yorston Kirribilli