The Ordination of an Episcopal Priest
June 26, 2010 will remain a special memory as The Right Reverend John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida in the Episcopal Church, performed the ceremony of ordination to the priesthood for my husband, Bill Boyer. It has been a journey over the years that we can only thank God for in every way. Our shared life and ministry started in DeLand, Florida at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. In a side altar, Bill proposed to me and it was a beginning of a 28 year marriage as of this year. We both stand amazed at the challenges and blessings God has given us. Bill served in the United States Navy as a Chaplain for 20 years and in Christian ministry through the United Methodist Church for 37 years. Doors of opportunity opened for me as a pastor’s wife and educator to travel the world in Christian ministry to places such as Mongolia, Ukraine and Guatemala. Little did we know that in that side chapel we also would come full circle to the place we began. It was somewhat like John Wesley, the Anglican priest, who never left the Church of England, but his ministry spread throughout the world from Oxford University where his study groups had rigid methods, thus dubbing them as “Methodists”. It was only last year that Bill and I traveled to England. He stood in John Wesley’s pulpit and we entered the small room where this priest spent hours in prayer. We were told that those seeking the will of God in their lives often come there and read his original manuscripts and books; often leaving with a new sense of the Holy Spirit moving them in a place of service.
As we have looked to God for His will in a continued service for Him, He began to open doors for Bill to continue ministry. He was first asked to preach in St. Edwards Episcopal Church in Mt. Dora, Florida, being ultimately led to become a deacon. With encouragement from the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida and Father Bob Maurais, he began the process to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. Bill continually told me of the warmth in which he was received and encouraged by Fr. Bennett and Bishop Howe. He looked to find a place where a deacon was needed. Fr. Jim Lively, rector of St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Clermont, FL was willing to mentor Bill in the liturgy and Holy Sacraments of the church. Fr. Tim Nunez also gave him careful instruction. After his retirement as a pastor, Bill said that one of the things he missed most was the celebration of Holy Communion and looked forward to being able to serve, as needed, within the Episcopal Church as he was given opportunity.
Yes, the journey continues. This special Ordination Day began with the Bach Festival Brass Quintet and trombone solo playing Bill’s favorite Christian music:
- O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
- Eternal Father, Strong to Save..the Navy Hymn
- The First Song of Isaiah
- Be Thou My Vision
- Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
There is nothing like music that speaks to the soul. St. Matthias Church was filled to overflowing with people and music.
Bishop Howe began the examination with a challenge:
“As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with its precepts. You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. You are to preach to declare God’s forgiveness to penitent sinners, to pronounce God’s blessing, to share in the administration of Holy Baptism and in the celebration of the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood, and to perform the other ministrations entrusted to you. In all that you do, you are to nourish Christ’s people from the riches of his grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come. My brother, do you believe that you are truly called by God and his Church to this priesthood?”
Bill replied, ” I believe I am so called.”
The beauty of the service and the people who prepared a wonderful reception afterwards was almost overwhelming. We thank everyone for this and for those of you who could not be in Florida…or had other commitments…a slide presentation below will share with you a day we will not forget. I also will not forget that day at the side altar when I said “Yes” to a life with a wonderful man and to live and serve together with him our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Click below to view the video.
|Another picture slideshow by Smilebox|