CANON PETER LEONARD, OF PORTSMOUTH CATHEDRAL, praises the dozen new clergy joining the Portsmouth diocese who are looking forward to serving their communities
We celebrated with 12 men and women who want to serve their local community as clergy.
Some of them became ‘the Reverend’ and were able to wear their clerical collars for the first time after the service on Saturday morning.
They became curates, continuing their training alongside vicars in Church of England parishes in south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Another set of people who became clergy for the first time last year were ordained as priests on Saturday evening.
They have already been working as curates since last July and – among other things – this ceremony now allows them to celebrate Holy Communion too.
There was joy, laughter and tears for the candidates, their friends and their families.
This was an important milestone for each of them, as they responded to God’s call on their lives.
As I watched these special people make their promises to God, I was reminded why God calls us to become clergy.
It’s not actually about us at all – it’s about those people living in our communities who we promise to serve.
The Church of England has a network of parishes covering the whole country, and provides clergy in each of them.
We do this to make sure every individual has someone they can go to with their joys and pains, their issues and their problems.
We are genuinely here to help everyone who lives in our area. Even our cathedral has its own parish in Old Portsmouth.
Anyone living here can talk to our cathedral clergy about weddings, baptisms and funerals – or to ask for support and help in any difficult situation they face.
It’s easy these days to be cynical about people’s motives.
We tend to assume that anyone offering to help wants something from us – usually money!
You might think we want you to donate something to our funds, or at least turn up in church every so often.
Can I reassure you that Church of England clergy won’t be demanding anything from you in return for our help?
The thousands of other clergy across the country are people whose Christian faith inspires them to be there for you. Just give us a call.