Dear friends and family,
This message comes to you with what are for me some very glad tidings! I am to be ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church on March 15th, as the enclosed invitation details. You may not be familiar with the traditions surrounding ordination in the Episcopal Church. So, here is a little summary:
The Episcopal Church follows the centuries old tradition of “successive orders,” which means that one is first ordained a deacon before being ordained a priest; and one is a deacon, and then a priest before becoming a bishop. This is done not only to continue a biblical and historical precedent, but also to remind those who are ordained and all in the church that ministry begins in service, and service has always been the primary role of a deacon.
What does this mean for you? It means that there’s going to be a great celebration in a few weeks at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York and I’d love for you to be there. But it also means that “God willing, and the people consenting,” there will be another celebration on Saturday, September 20, 2008 when I am ordained a priest. I would be thrilled to have all of you present for both ordinations. But, please know that your prayers for both -- and presence at which ever celebration is convenient for you -- will be most welcome and greatly appreciated.
24 February 2008
Here's the text of a note that I included with my (few) mailed invitations that explains (somewhat) why I'll be ordained twice -- and that your prayers and presence at either are both will be a great joy to me: