‘I was fortunate enough to be among the 15 or so of us from St Blasius to attend the service of ordination at Portsmouth Cathedral last evening.
‘It was a memorable and inspiring service, with stirring words and magnificent music. But, not having attended an ordination service before, one of the things that impressed me most was the ‘laying on of hands’.
‘The Bishop and priests lay their hands on the head of each ordinand saying ‘Send down the Holy Spirit on your servant for the office and work of a priest in your church’.
‘But the ordinand is surrounded by what seems like dozens of clergy – Bishops, Archdeacons, Deans and priests – all reaching out to touch his or her head. (I couldn’t see what was going on in the huddle but I am told that by some clever shuffling around it was arranged that the Training Incumbent for each ordinand was able actually to touch his or her head. So Victor was able to lay his hands on your head.) To most of the clergy it was a matter of simply reaching out over the shoulder of the one in front. A chain of blessing, so to speak.
‘That was to me deeply symbolic of the whole-hearted support for you and all the new priests. It was amplified further by the massive participation of the huge congregation throughout the service, and the applause as you processed out at the end.
‘Dawn – I think you can be in no doubt of the support you receive from us here at St Blasius. We count ourselves immensely privileged and blessed to be sharing the first years of your ministry with you.
‘We have subscribed to be able to present you with a gift to commemorate this wonderful occasion, and to assure you of our support and prayers for your ministry here, and wherever it may take you in the future.’
For the record, the gift was a ‘Venetian Tapestry’ stole suitable for ‘All Seasons’ use.