“His grace will be sufficient for you”
The Rev. Allen Tapley preaches as diocese welcomes eight deacons and priests
By Gisele McKnight
Christ Church Cathedral was full to capacity as family, friends and supporters worshipped together at the ordination service June 26.
Bishop David Edwards presided at the ordination of Brenda Fowler to the vocational diaconate; Dan McMullen, David Peer, David Alston and Kevin McAllister to the transitional diaconate; Ann Fairweather and Thomas Nisbett to the priesthood, and the reception of orders of Neil Osiowy.
The Rev. Allen Tapley preached on the 21st chapter of John, where Jesus appeared to seven disciples who were fishing on Lake Tiberias.
“I felt strongly that this is what I needed to talk about today,” said Allen.
After Peter denied Christ three times in the lead-up to the crucifixion, “the Bible says Peter wept bitterly,” said Allen, adding Peter realized his boasts that he would die for Jesus were hollow.
“Peter had a lesson the night of Jesus’s arrest that he would never forget.”
In this text, after the resurrection, Jesus is on the shore, with a fire going, as the disciples are fishing. With divine intervention, the men begin to catch dozens of fish, and John recognizes Jesus. That prompts Peter to jump into the water and race to shore.
After the men eat breakfast, Jesus has a lesson — and some redemption — for Peter, asking him three times, ‘Do you love me?’
“John says Peter got a little upset, saying ‘You know I love you.’”
Allen cautioned the eight priests and deacons, saying, “We can think we’re invincible, as Peter thought.”
Jesus, asking Peter if he loved him, was really telling Peter, ‘it’s OK. I want you to love me unconditionally. Sometimes you won’t be able to, but what’s important is you try,’ said Allen.
“You’re not going to have an easy ride. People all around you will make mistakes. You will make mistakes,” said Allen.
“You will think your calling was all in your imagination, and you should never, ever have done this. When you feel that way, listen to the dialogue of Jesus Christ saying, ‘it’s OK.’
“Don’t think you can do it all. You can’t. Today you’ve been called into a wonderful work in Christ, for Christ. His grace will be sufficient for you.”
Dozens of clergy joined in the laying on of hands for the consecration of Ann and Thomas. Each ordinand has people designated to vest them in their stoles.
The building erupted in loud applause as the eight new clergy were welcomed to the ministry of the diocese, although Bishop David called the applause “somewhat delicate” — missing the “whoop whoop” of last year’s ordination.
All eight newly ordained priests and deacons administered Holy Communion to several hundred worshippers. Attendance was estimated at 365, with chairs and speakers outside for the overflow.
After the service, the focus moved to Cathedral Memorial Hall, where a reception was held. Bishop David presented certificates of ordination to all eight, and licences to the four who are beginning their ministry appointments.