Student Readers commissioned in Theological College
Four Ordinands were commissioned as Student Readers by Archbishop Michael Jackson at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute on Wednesday evening (October 4). Iain McAleavey and Rodney Magennis (Down & Dromore) and Ross Meneely and Christopher West (Armagh) were licensed as Readers.
The students were commissioned during the Community Eucharist which was attended by members of the nearby Little Company of Mary Convent. They were presented for licensing by Lecturer in Missiology, the Revd Dr Patrick McGlinchey, who coordinates student placements.
In his sermon, the Archbishop focused on the word ‘care’ while addressing the Ordinands on who they are called to be. “You are called to care for yourself; to care for others; to care for creation,” he explained adding, “The word care is the thread that unites those three theological imperatives of faith, hope and love from 1 Corinthians 13; the word care is what unites the divine gift of incarnation with the human response of a life of service and of challenge; this will often verge towards confrontation in areas of transformation and regeneration of earthly life itself; this comes about in and through the time of death and resurrection that we see revealed in Holy Scripture in the person of Jesus Christ. The word care is what inspires Christians by the Spirit of God worldwide through history and today to witness to truth and love in human degradation as well as in human exuberance. Care is about bothering; about going out of your way to make the way itself possible for difficult and impossible people; about doing things because you are a new creation of God and because you have no intention of using care itself as a way of drawing attention to yourself – ever.”
The Archbishop said that the readings [Exodus 17.1–7; Philippians 2.1–13; St Matthew 21.23–32] provided valuable advice for ministry. Exodus highlights the importance of trying to avoid getting caught in the middle of exasperated people but he suggested that if they found themselves caught in the middle they must try to get into a position where they can continue to speak to everyone.
Matthew 21 highlighted the fact that many people would judge their public ministry but he urged them to take this in their stride. Philippians 2 reminded them that the mind of Christ is their guide and mentor “as we live afresh, each one of us, the incarnate life, holding together those spatial and spiritual impossibilities: heaven and earth – how? – by virtue of the fact that it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. [Philippians 2.13]”.