Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life: Ordination

This Wednesday was the ordination Todd Hunter, David Loomis and Silas Tak Yin Ng to the position of bishop in the Anglican Mission in the Americas. The AMIA is a dioceses under the leadership of Rwanda, and is a missionary organization of Africa to the Americas. I attended the ordination at the invitation of my friend Paul, who is working with Todd in the launching of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, the first in a series of two hundred churches Todd hopes to start in the next five years. This is the story of that ordination, which took place in the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena.

We filed into the church, the worship group singing praise courses as we entered. Paul and I found a seat and began to talk with each other as we waited for the service to start. Then, from the back of the church, a resonating voice read the scripture and we all stood. The voice declared “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him (Hab. 2:20). You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)”. As the scripture finished, the organ began to play, and with solemnity and beauty the bishops and priests processed into the sanctuary, the cross going before them.

The procession and hymns completed, the congregation declared the confession of sins and received the absolution, and then the service turned to worship in praise choruses. It was simultaneously one of the strangest and one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time, as the dozen or more present bishops, decked in their full vestments, swayed and clapped to the modern worship music.

After the worship, we declared the Apostles’ Creed. I found this a little strange, since that creed is singular and is usually used in personal devotion, while the Nicene Creed is usually used for corporate declarations of faith. Still, the creed a wonderful summary of the Christian faith.

Following the creed were more prayers, the reading of scripture, a song of response and then the sermon came, and up to the pulpit stepped Rick Warren. He gave a message to the soon-to-be-ordained bishops on their responsibilities as leaders in the church, and the temptations they might fall into. It was a good, well spoken message, but what I really loved was what this service represented. Here you had the ordination of Americans to the bishopric in America, under the leadership of Africa, meeting in an Evangelical church and being spoken to by a non-denominational pastor. The service itself involved the worship of the protestant church, and the liturgy of the Anglican. As the pastor of the Nazarene church we met in said when he came up, “… the Nazarene church was founded by a rebellious Methodist, and the Methodist church was founded by a rebellious Anglican, so thank you for letting your rebellious grandchildren host you… for letting us truly be the Kingdom of God.”

After the sermon the candidates were examined by the Rwandan archbishop, consecrated and given new bibles, and we then gathered in for the passing of the peace, the offertory and finally the Lord’s Supper. After this, we sang the hymn of procession into the World.

I’m very excited about what Todd Hunter is doing with Holy Trinity, you can find out more about it on his website, on the Holy Trinity site, and on the site of Churches for the Sake of Others. Todd is an amazing teacher, and has a good understanding of the importance of spiritual development and the presence of the Kingdom in our lives, and I think something powerful is happening through AMIA, Holy Trinity and C4SO. If you’re looking for church and you live in the Orange County area, I highly recommend you check out Holy Trinity. The launching service of Holy Trinity is going to be on 9:00am September 27th at Rock Harbor (more info here). And even if you’re not looking for a church, or you’re out of the area, please pray for the work that is being done.

Thank you all, and have a great weekend.