Thumbs up for ministry
There was thunderous applause in St Andrew’s Cathedral and hugs and plenty of pictures outside as 26 men and women were ordained as Deacons for various ministries around Sydney and Wollongong. From school chaplaincy to Arabic ministry in Sydney’s South West, some ordinands will be starting fresh while others will continue the ministry they have been involved in during training.
Archbishop Glenn Davies said the service was the culmination of years of education, training and study in the Bible. “This is a very significant day for them because they are entering into a service of God for the rest of their lives - it is a service where they will seek to proclaim the Lord Jesus to people , to seek out the lost, to encourage the saints and to glorify the Lord Jesus.”
The newly ordained Rev Caroline Andrews, who is the Growing Believers minister at St James’, Croydon was surrounded by well-wishers. “It is a really exciting day to celebrate with family, our friends and our church - it’s a real moment to acknowledge the ministry I have been doing and to recommit to serving God and his church for as many days as he gives me.” she said.
Arabic ministry got a boost with the ordination of Sami Youkhana, who leads the Arabic congregation at Hoxton Park. “We have been here four years and the Lord has blessed us, I am really grateful for what the Lord did in everything here, for the ministry.” Mr Youkhana said.
“My ordination will give us more authority and help the Church settle more. People when they come to the church will say “Oh we have an ordained pastor - this means this is a legal church. This is very important thinking for the Arabic tradition.” As a Deacon, he will also able to perform weddings for the growing congregation.
Grace is where you start and Grace is where you finish
Also during the service, the Rev Daniel Willis was welcomed as an Honorary Canon of St Andrew's Cathedral, in recognition of a lengthy and significant ministry in Australia and overseas.
The Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Hayward, spoke to the ordinands, borrowing from the old hymn Amazing Grace. “What is the power to soften the apathetic heart of ourselves - of anyone - Grace! God’s move towards us in his son Jesus Christ.” Bishop Hayward said. “It is there for all because Christ is there for all. Grace is where you start and Grace is where you finish.”
The 26 men and women who emerged smiling from the Cathedral today are determined to share that grace with as widely as possible.
Main photo: A lighter moment after the ordination with Bishop Peter Lin (centre) and Arabic Pastor Sami Youkhana (far right) and other Georges River region ordinands David Chang and Michael Burgess.