A second group of new deacons was ordained at St Andrew's Cathedral last month, in a smaller service because of COVID restrictions but with the same scriptural charge to follow their Lord's example.
The Making of Deacons service is held annually in February following the completion of the ordinands’ theological studies the previous year. Due to COVID and subsequent reduced capacity in the Cathedral, an additional service was held last November for half of the ordinands, who had already been working in parish ministry.
This decision allowed the Cathedral to enable more family and friends to attend in support of the ordinands and encourage them as they commence their ministry.
For Archbishop Glenn Davies, it was his ninth and final deaconing service since his election in 2013. He will retire on March 26.
The 14 deacons will go on to parish ministry across Sydney, and may now be addressed as “the Reverend”.
For the Rev Jack Wong, ministering at Artarmon, it was a great joy to have family and friends attend the service.
"It is wonderful encouragement to know that, in God's kindness, he has provided them to help me persevere and grow all these years,” he said. “It's really through their unceasing prayers, encouragement, advice, feedback, rebuke and comfort – while patiently and graciously bearing with me – that has kept me going in ministry."
Archbishop Davies spoke specifically to families of the ordinands, thanking them for their support.
The wife and three children of the Rev Sam Darmo sat proudly in the congregation along with other family members.
Of Assyrian ethnicity, he said the day was "a great encouragement for us and them as they see us reach this important milestone for ministry. “The ceremony itself is for our encouragement as God uses his Church to raise workers in the field through the laying of hands on people for serving in specific types of ministries."
He will be ministering in the parish of Fairfield-Bossley Park.
The Rev Avril Lonsdale was supported by family and members of the St George North congregation she serves. She became a Christian in the parish during her teens, and said it was “a wonderful blessing to be able to return there and serve full time this year.
“I can’t wait to see the gospel change the lives of men and women, just like it did mine, and it’s a joy to once again partner in the work of the Lord with my brothers and sisters in the St George area."
Like others, she is encouraged and daunted.
"I’ve also been struck by the significance of the promises I’ve made today. It’s a privilege to be publicly entrusted as a minister of God’s word, and despite my weakness in this task, I know that the all-surpassing power of God is at work powerfully in me. equipping me for the task ahead."
Across Sydney at Lidcombe, Jie Yeo is "looking forward to teaching and encouraging my congregation with God's word and seeing them grow in their love and knowledge of our great God. Also getting to know my congregation better, loving them and sharing my life with them."
Echoing the words of his fellow ordinands, he told sydneyanglicans.net: "We are very thankful for the privilege it is to serve God in ministry. Please pray that I will fulfil the promises that I have made."
The Bishop of South Sydney, Michael Stead, spoke on aspiring to greatness in light of Jesus’ teaching to the disciples in Matthew 20.
"For our 14 deacons to be great ones, they need to work at being humble like Jesus," he said. "For our 14 deacons, the goal of your ministry is not to so convince and persuade people that they think on every point just like you. The goal is to transform yourself and those around you so that everyone thinks more like Jesus."
Bishop Stead said the incarnation of Jesus climaxed at the cross where, although he deserved to be exalted as king, he put the salvation of others above his own needs.
"I trust that our 14 deacons have this same mindset – valuing others above themselves – that leads to self-sacrificial service. Fourteen deacons who are the first to pick up the antiseptic wipes to do the post-church COVID cleaning, and who are the last to leave after packing down the church. We need deacons who will model humble and self-sacrificial service and inspire the congregation to do likewise."
The full list of ordinands is
Charles Cleworth – Grace City Church
Simeon Cumberland – Gladesville
Sam Darmo – Fairfield-Bossley Park
Daniel Gale – Riverwood-Punchbowl
Joshua Hesford – St George North
Avril Lonsdale – St George North
Evan Moses – St Marys
Callan Pritchard – Dundas-Telopea
Joseph Pun – Centennial Park
Jordan Smith – West Pymble
Dan Tooma – Church at the Peak
Jack Wong – Artarmon
Jie Sheng Yeo – Lidcombe
James Vigar – Cranebrook