Blog – 23rd September 2017

September 27, 2017 in Dean's Blog

Ordination at Christ Church Jebel Ali: Saturday 23rd September 2017

j1Apart from the odd day trip to France when we lived in Kent, I don’t remember a day-trip to a country, but the Ordination at Christ Church, Jebel Ali, of Charlie Lloyd-Evans as a deacon j2and Harry Ching as priest, both of whom had passed through the Diocesan Advisory Selection Panel which I have the privilege of chairing was not an occasion I wanted to miss. j3Archdeacon John Holdsworth was the preacher on this occasion and he reflected on the difference between Ambition and Vocation, taking the example of Billy Elliot, the ballet dancer from a tough north-eastern mining village. At his interview for the Royal Ballet School, competing against southerners from middle-class backgrounds he was tongue-tied and inarticulate until he was asked the question: what does it feel like when you are dancing.

j4It was good to meet up with the Rev’d Robert Martin, priest in charge of Emmanuel Church in Hong Kong where I served in the 1980’s for over seven years and where I more recently preached during my sabbatical and I was able to pass on some archive material from that time. It was also lovely to meet up with Rachel Bainbridge, a Cathedral Warden when we first arrived and who had been involved in the interviewing panel in London when I originally applied for the post of Dean.

j5I took two gifts a Bahrain three-fish plate, painted by Wahab just up the road from the Cathedral in the Craft Centre, for Charlie and a sick Communion set for Harry, which has an interesting history. When I was in Hong Kong, I used to visit Bishop James Pong, the former Bishop of Taiwan, and his wife Lily, with Communion as they lived very close to the chapel in St John’s College, Pokfulam, where we worshipped. He had been disabled by a stroke. I had a rather battered Communion set and after Bishop James died, Lily gave me his beautiful set, each piece inscribed in Chinese, presented to him when he had become Archdeacon of Hong Kong. It is something that I have treasured and used regularly over nearly thirty years of ministry, but I had always felt that when my own ministry had concluded, it should be returned to the church in Hong Kong. Harry’s ordination as priest has given me the opportunity to pass it on to someone who, I’m sure, will treasure its heritage as well as finding it very useful in ministry to the sick.