Renewing my ordination vows with Jack Noonan & Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz © Sybille Yates
On Sunday 1st July 1990, in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St. Alban, (to give what is commonly known as ‘St. Alban’s Cathedral’ its correct, full name), I was ordained priest by the then Bishop of St. Albans, Rt Rev’d John B. Taylor. Therefore this coming Wednesday will be the twenty-fifth anniversary of that significant day. So with today being the nearest Sunday to the anniversary, within our Eucharist at St. Clement’s this morning, I renewed my ordination promises or vows.
In the absence of a bishop, I arranged for Licensed Reader Jack Noonan & American Presbyterian Minister Karen Moritz, to once more ask the questions that were put to me within that Ordination Service twenty-five years ago. I found it both moving and challenging even when putting together the printed text for today’s service. All the more so, as I responded to each question in front of the St. Clement’s congregation this morning. If you want to know what exactly is asked at an ordination service, go here and scroll down to ‘The Liturgy of Ordination’.
After I had responded to the questions and had also received the loud support of the congregation, promising to both pray for me and to continue to uphold and encourage me in my ministry, I knelt and we sang the ancient hymn Veni Creator Spiritus – ‘Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire’, which is when the photograph at the beginning of this post was taken. Karen then led us in intercession, using the form of intercession from the ordination service.
Whilst I was warmly greeted when sharing the Peace, what I wasn’t expecting was what occurred just before the end of the service. In advance of the final hymn, I was giving the notices when both of the Churchwardens got up, wishing to also make an announcement. There followed an effusive eulogy written and spoken by Churchwarden Stephen Weeks, the text of which I was later told, had been approved by fellow Churchwarden Gordon Truefitt and gained the blessing of Jack Noonan. I was then given most humbling long standing ovation by the congregation.
This afternoon, I have been searching through two boxes that sit in my office, famously ‘waiting to be sorted’, trying to find a photograph of me standing before St. Alban’s Cathedral in cassock surplice and stole on that special day. Unfortunately, I’ve drawn a blank. But below is a scan of the legal document confirming my ordination, signed and sealed by Bishop John. I do love the line, ‘Of whose sufficient learning and godly conversation We were assured’
The legal document confirming my ordination
In a ‘purple sandwich’ between my Czech Old Catholic Bishop Dušan Hejbal and my Anglican Diocesan Bishop Robert Innes © Sybille Yates
The Prague and Brno Anglican congregations of which I am Chaplain or Priest-in-Charge, are two of just over three hundred congregations that together form the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe. However for both legal and ecumenical reasons, my two congregations also function as as the English-speaking parish of the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic, or Farní obec Starokatolické církve pro verící anglického jazyka v Praze.
The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht were formed in the late 19th century by Roman Catholics who could not accept the doctrine of papal infallibility and other teachings that came out of the First Vatican Council of 1870. The Church in the Netherlands has a slightly earlier history. As well . . . → Read More: A somewhat purple week!
The happy couple in Fringford Churchyard following their wedding © Ricky Yates
Just a week after conducting my first wedding of 2015, on Saturday 6th June I conducted my second of the year. But for the first time in nearly seven years, this wedding was conducted under laws governing marriage in England and Wales.
It was in July last year that my son Phillip’s best friend, Adam, wrote to me, saying that he and his long-standing girlfriend Claire, were planning to be married in late May/early June 2015 and that they would like me to officiate, and asking whether I was willing and able to do so. As I normally travel to the UK for a week, once a year, I replied agreeing to their request, planning for the wedding to be at the centre of my annual UK visit. Adam did also . . . → Read More: The wedding of Adam and Claire
Lee and Petra © Ricky Yates
On Saturday 30th May, I officiated at my first wedding of 2015, between Lee, an Englishman, and Petra, his Czech bride. The wedding took place at Letohrádek svatý Vojtech, Pocátky, in the Vysocina/Highlands, close to from where Petra originates.
The happy couple met whilst both working for the Irish budget airline, Ryanair. As they acknowledged when I first met them, theirs was the classic romance – dashing airline pilot falls in love with tall, beautiful air stewardess They now live in Dubai, where Lee flies with the Emirates airline.
Lee and Petra first contacted me about their wedding in September last year. Lee was very keen to have a Church of England wedding whilst Petra wanted the wedding to take place near her Czech home. Therefore, when through a little bit of internet research, . . . → Read More: My first wedding of 2015
Here Germany & Europe were divided until 08.00, 12th November 1989 © Ricky Yates
Observant readers of this blog may have noticed that my wife Sybille, has not had a mention in any of my recent posts. This is because on Maundy Thursday 2nd April, Sybille travelled by train from Prague to Görlitz, a town lying in the south-eastern corner of the former East Germany on the border with Poland. Then on Good Friday morning, she set out to walk from Görlitz, 470 km along Der Ökumenische Pilgerweg, to the small town of Vacha, which lies on the former Inner German Border.
Der Ökumenische Pilgerweg was established in 2002-3, almost solely by the efforts of one lady, Esther Zeiher. It follows the line of the ancient Via Regia passing through Leipzig, Erfurt and Eisenach. . . . → Read More: The Ökumenische Pilgerweg, Vacha and the Inner German Border