Ordination of Charlotte Sullivan on Saturday 17th March 2018


Saturday – Ordination Service

We had a glorious Ordination Service last Saturday in Bordeaux when Charlotte Sullivan was ordained by the Rt. Revd. Robert Innes. Charlotte will now be resident in Bordeaux as part of the Chaplaincy of Aquitaine Ministry Team.

Below is an excerpt from Bishop Robert’s blog:

An ordination is always a special event. For the weekend of 17th/18th March, Helen and I took the train to Bordeaux for the ordination of Charlotte Sullivan on the Saturday and a confirmation service in Bertric-Burée on the Sunday. We travelled on one of the new Euroduplex ‘InOui’ branded trains that cover the 528km between Paris and Bordeaux in just two hours, and the train arrived on time, to the minute.

A further half hour train ride to Libourne, then an hour in the car took us to the peaceful Abbaye de l’Echourgnac convent where Charlotte had been on her pre-ordination retreat in the company of our Advisor on Women’s Ministry, Carolyn Cook

After an overnight stay with Chaplain Tony and Ingrid Lomas, we drove on the Saturday morning for nearly two hours through the beautiful wine-making area of St. Emilion to the worship centre in Bordeaux. Aquitaine includes 14 Anglican worship centres. Charlotte is to be based in Bordeaux itself, which is a major city and rather different in character from the smaller towns and villages in which the other worship centres are located.

The ordination service opened with a confident rendition of ‘My Jesus, My Saviour’ by the children’s choir. The music for the rest of the service was supported by a very good adult choir. Amongst other items, they sang John Ireland’s ‘Greater Love’, an anthem which sets out the message of the gospel as clearly and powerfully as any other English-language music I know, and finished with a spirited rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

Charlotte’s ordination as a priest is a cause of huge thanksgiving for the Aquitaine chaplaincy, where she is much loved and respected. She was supported by family and friends and many chaplaincy members in a full church.

Later in the service we commissioned Tony Lomas as Area Dean. He will look after the clergy and congregations of South Western France. Distances are big in this part of the diocese, and I hope Tony will be able to support and encourage fellow clergy working in isolated circumstances.

Supplementary Postscript from Bishop Robert

Aficionados of Anglican Canon Law will be aware that Ordinations may only be conducted on certain major feast days. It may be wondered whether March 17th, the Feast of St. Patrick, has sufficient weight to count as a proper major feast. In the event, St. Patrick’s Day coincided with the last game in the Rugby Six Nations, in which Ireland decisively beat England to take the Grand Slam. Bordeaux being a keen rugby city, the anxious would have been left in no doubt that St. Patrick’s Day 2018 in Bordeaux was a major feast !


Sunday – Holy Communion Service

The Revd Richard Bromley, Mission Director of ICS, led our Sunday Worship Service and concluded his sermon with some exciting words:

Allow me to say three things to you in conclusion.

I believe this is your time, Now the hour has come… 

This Bordeaux church is at pivotal moment. With Charlotte, this is not about business as usual with a new priest. This is about so much more as we adventure forward.

Secondly, I pray this church continues to develop as a community of welcome. To be a community where the invitation is open. Making space for people to belong. Christ will draw all people… 

Finally I want to say.  It is time to dare greatly.

Daring greatly:  About vulnerability.  About risk.  About stepping out when everything in you screams no.  Refusing to play safe because it is the safe thing to do. About remembering what it is that Christ has called you to.

As Jesus put it… About dying to self.  About wheat falling in the ground, but life comes.

I finish with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt,  26th President of USA.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how others stumble,  or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,  and who at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


A photo album of the ordination service and reception afterwards is available here


Sermon


Sermon Notes – Revd Richard Frost – 30/7/17 -Psalm 119.v129-136, Romans 8.26-39, Matthew 13.31-33.

Jesus said ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the Kingdom is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old‘.

In getting a subject matter across to students especially if it is something new, a teacher will usually employ a concept of  ‘working from the known to the unknown’.  The effectiveness depends of course on the understanding that the students have.   There is a concept in learning that says ‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand ‘.

Jesus in the Gospel message today tells five little parables each containing a profound and deep spiritual truth about the Kingdom of Heaven.  We are not quite sure who he was addressing but we would gather it was aimed as much at the disciples as the crowds who followed.  He takes simple everyday things that his hearers could relate – A mustard seed, the leaven in the lump, the find of hidden treasure, the seeker of priceless stones and the casting of a Fisherman’s net.  Each parable is a sermon in itself.  We can therefore consider them separately or as a whole.  How are we to understand them? At heart they are about Proclamation and Revelation.

They are visual with impact .  There is movement, growth, wonder, drama and joy in the accounts.  For instance what revolutionary teaching about leaven. We can equate this with yeast which in Old Testament teaching was considered evil or unclean.  Yet Jesus offers a new perception which is revolutionary, life giving and life enhancing. As it ferments in the dough it is like the Kingdom of Heaven which spreads through a persons life. There is a mixture of the worldly with the Heavenly pointing to the mystery and treasure that is at the heart of God.

Have you understood all these things?”  Said Jesus.  It is an unusual question as if some academic exercise.  ‘Yes‘ they replied.

Jesus is very gentle for I don’t think for one minute they did fully understand.  How could they?  Do we  How often in our faith journeys our understanding of God is borne out not so much by the intellectual but through experience  – the doing or responding to God’s word.

Having been now ordained for twenty years, one thing I have learnt along my faith journey is that the more I try to understand God the less I do.  Faith often raises more questions than answers and yet something draws me closer to this wonderful God that we adore and worship.

My quest to know and love God always takes me back to the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord.  It is only in His light, through His story that His teaching makes any sense to my and your Story.  For each of us has one to tell.  The Disciples were the same.  It was only in the light of the Resurrection that the ‘penny dropped’ so to speak and these little stories came to be seen as power packed with the Grace and Love of God.

I can recall nearly 40 years ago, as a young bobby and not a Christian at the time, being distraught at the loss of a dear colleague in his 30s, a father of two young children who suddenly dropped dead in the police station one Christmas Eve.  My response was more faithless than faithful.  I remonstrated and was angry.  ‘If there is a God why did he let this happen?’

But, God always has the last word.  He was gentle with me as He is with us all.  It set me on a path of faith.  I can recall a Reader in the Church where my colleague was buried, preaching one morning and words that have never left me that made no sense at the time – ‘God will have His way in your life‘!  God stopped me in my tracks as so often Is His Way.

A mustard seed was sown in my heart.  Over the years, the yeast of faith began to ferment.  Treasure filled my whole life and the net was cast to put out into the deep water of faith.

God had His way in the lives of his Disciples. He showed them the way of faith by the example of His selfless love and sacrifice.

It was only in the ‘doing’ that they began to understand – to give up everything to follow Jesus. They too found their treasure that transformed their lives.

Take the writer of our lesson from Romans today, St Paul, a Christian persecutor who’s life was totally turned around after his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus.  The hidden treasure was revealed and he was able to proclaim with one heart and voice , ‘I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and the power of His Resurrection ‘ ( Phil 3.8-10)

Or take the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus had risen from the dead.  How sad and disappointed they were that Jesus their only hope in the world had been so tragically taken from them.  Desperately searching for answers a stranger joins them in their midst and suddenly their eyes were ‘opened’ and they see Jesus in the breaking of bread.  Jesus is alive, their hope is restored.  The priceless pearl is recovered.  The parables connect.  Their story becomes our story.  An old story breathes and speaks of New life and hope.

Suddenly the words of the Psalmist from the Old Testament makes sense.  There is both Proclamation and Revelation  –  ‘The unfolding of your word gives light . It gives understanding to the simple‘.

Proclamation and Revelation is of the very essence.  It gives light and life to the people of God and to this whole world even thou some may chose to ignore it.  Be assured God will have his way in your life and in the story of this church.

The Chapelle is wonderfully blessed and open to new possibilities and challenges.  There is an acceptance of  combining the old with the new – we can see that for instance in the love that emanates in our worship through the singing of traditional hymns and modern worship songs.

There is a thirst for the Good news of the Gospel.  There are plans and a vision that a permanent priest will be appointed in the future.  All of this is underlined by prayer and fellowship.  Be encouraged.  God is doing something new.

It will not be without sacrifice but such is our faith – but one thing is clear from our Gospel message and the message from St Paul in our reading from Romans  – ‘All things work for Good for those who love God who are called according to His purpose for ‘There is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God In Christ Jesus‘.

We all have are part to play as the early disciples did.  God proclaims and His love is revealed.  We are called to be faithful – to Live out His purpose whether here or anywhere else in the world.  Never forget -you have been called by name – God chose you for a reason to proclaim and reveal His light – His Life -And His Love In His world.

Therefore, in our simple reasoning when we do – we understand.  We can proclaim with confidence – that Jesus’s parables as a whole teach us one eternal truth ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you‘. The Holy Spirit is what draws and leads us.  Helps us in our weakness, strengthens our resolve.  The Spirit Is what empowers and equips us on our Heavenly journey.  It is where our Priceless Treasure is to be found.

We pray with the Psalmist – ‘Lord show the light of your countenance upon us your humble servants

Amen


 

Sermon Notes - Sunday 16th July - Parable of the Sower

Reverend David Frost, Sunday 16th July – Isaiah 55.10-13, Psalm 119 195-112, Matthew 13.1-9;18-23

‘But the one who received the seed that fell on Good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it’

I read the Gospel from back of the church this morning instead of the front on the lectern which is customary in this church I understand. Some of you might have felt ‘wrong footed’ – some turned around to face me, some not. The key question whatever  – ‘were you listening to the Gospel message?’ for the Parable of the Sower is of profound importance. You may have heard it several times before and know it off by heart – yet it’s truth is timeless and eternal.

We can relate I’m sure to the Spiritual conditions that Jesus refers – The Sower sows the seed – the word of God -some take root which is fruitful, some doesn’t with consequences and thwarted growth.

How can we look at this parable afresh? Jesus In Some ways ‘wrong foots’ the crowd. He’s no fisherman – a carpenter speaking from a boat about farming -Enigmatic – Why? He is on the seashore with a huge crowd gathering. It would have been a mixed bunch with different needs, even curiosity, ‘who is this guy?’- His reputation would have gone before him of all the good that he had been doing. We could ask, ‘Were people more occupied in wanting to see him rather than listening taking on a kind of celebrity status?’ Yet he gets into a boat and as many would say to be seen and to get their attention.

The key I believe lies in his opening sentence – ‘ LISTEN’. Jesus is being quite prescriptive. This would not have been said in a limp or quiet way but with conviction and authority as if your very life depended on it – and the chilling almost what seems a patronising conclusion at the end of the story – ‘He has ears let him hear’. How often Jesus reinforced such a comment in His teaching.

What great Truths can we therefore deduce from this simple and yet deeply profound story?

( 1 ) ‘We live by Faith not by sight’ ( 2 Cor . 5.7).

‘Blessed are those’ said Jesus ‘ who believe and do not see ‘. Jesus makes the point how crucial in our faith journeys that we listen and inwardly digest His word. Listening comes before seeing. When we do – we will see Jesus by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

( 2) ‘Faith comes  through hearing the message’ (Rom 10.17)

If we are seriously committed in our faith – How important we read and discipline ourselves to reading and hearing God’s word everyday. It is what nourishes and builds our faith especially at times of spiritual dryness or difficult times. Times of fellowship and prayer can be so  so nourishing and encouraging. As the Psalmist said ‘ Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path ‘.

(3) ‘Faith is more precious than Gold’ ( 1 Peter 1.7)

It is God’s special gift to each of us – more precious than silver and more costly than Gold. We can give most things away in life – our love – our lives – We can sacrifice all that we are and have but one thing we cannot do is give our faith away. It is the treasure within -the Bank of our souls – for ‘where your treasure is said Jesus there your heart will be also’ ( Matt 5 ). How that needs to be nurtured and blessed through the seed of God’s word.

Ultimately Why is Jesus teaching so important – ‘ Simply to be fruitful and to be joyful In His service. To be good soil. That is why we should Listen at all times in all places. It will never be a wasted exercise – When we listen to him – we listen to each other and the deep felt need of our world and hearts – His word nourishes our faith and our Faith nurtures our love for him. In this we will never be ‘wrong footed ‘.

Thus says the Lord in Isaiah – ‘My word shall not return to me empty. It will accomplish what I desire and the purpose for which I sent it – You will go out in Joy and be led forth in Peace‘.