Commissioning of Student Readers
New ordinands studying in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute were commissioned as Student Readers by the Archbishop of Dublin yesterday evening (Wednesday September 26).
The ordinands who were licensed as Readers were: Edwin Aiken (Down and Dromore), Rodney Blair (Armagh), Andrea Cotter (Connor), Sarah Crawford (Connor), Alistair Doyle (Dublin and Glendalough), Nathan Ervine (Connor), Claire Henderson (Derry and Raphoe), Leonard Madden (Dublin and Glendalough), Matthew Topley (Armagh) and Anna Williams (Down and Dromore).
They were presented for licensing by the Revd Dr Patrick McGlinchey who coordinates student placements for CITI.
In his sermon, Archbishop Michael Jackson spoke of the importance of maintaining the “outward focus” of ordained ministry – “It is not about you; it is about them”.
“Increasingly, and increasingly instinctively, what you will look for in the Scriptures is not yourselves but other people. This is part of the conviction I have often shared with others, and it is this: It is not about you; it is about them. The Scriptures form the lifeblood of our faith, of the faith of others and of our vocation by God. Vocation does not make you special. Vocation makes you specifically responsible. By the time you are being ordained, all of these specific responsibilities will be outlined in prose that is both ancient and modern at the same time,” he said.
He encouraged the students not to get too caught up in the exhilaration of their own idealism or to get too cosy in the Theological Institute which aims to enable them to learn and grow without stresses and anxieties. He also urged them not to get too tied up in the Curacy Round.
“If you get too caught up in yourself, all that will happen, sooner rather than later, is that you will play off the worst of yourself against the best of yourself. And that is helpful to nobody. Why? Because, once again: It is not about you; it is about them. The tiring thing about ordination and the ordained ministry is keeping the outward focus – and that is why the care of others always has to be set alongside, and not beneath, the care of self. It is not a question about being of no use to other people; it is a question of being of no use to yourself and to God,” the Archbishop explained.
Archbishop Jackson said that the Church called its members to “sit under the Scriptures and to feed on them”. He explained: “The Church suggests that we bring to bear on The Scriptures a hopeful and providential perspective, one that believes that God knows what God is doing not only with our religious goodness but with our everyday badness. It is the same God who makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the good and the evil – indiscriminately (St Matthew 5.44,45). A balanced approach that is prescriptive not of the behaviour of others but of the instinct to seek out the lost and to love them as we would at some point need them to love us – this is the gift of the Scriptures to us. Seen from this perspective, the Church is only now starting for you in a new and exciting way.”
He concluded by urging the ordinands to put the experience they already have of life to good use. “Many of you have come with significant experience of life in general and of church life. Rejoice in this and please put it at the service of others and please pray that they will do the same for you. Give and receive with simple respect. Don’t try to do everything. It simply is not possible. Be yourself and please continue to be the person that God has made you in order to become the person God wants you to become,” he stated.