Photo credit: Cindy McCrory, BlueRoom Photography
"What does God have in store for me?" was the question the Rev. Deacon Clelia Garrity urged five seminarians to ask themselves, on the day of their ordination into the Sacred Order of Deacons on April 28, 2018 at Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile, Alabama.
Clelia preached a stirring sermon describing the life of a deacon, speaking from her own journey into servanthood. She humorously reflected on being "treated as a queen" on her first day on the job, being catered to by members of the church. Then being quickly brought into reality on the second day by her mentor, Deacon Albert, when he said, "You have to be where the people are...not sitting behind that desk! That's not where you belong!" Off they went together to visit people on the fringes of society, to deliver not only food, but also conversation, prayer, and most importantly, love. They served people who lived where love was a scarce commodity, but eagerly consumed. Clelia said that day "set my heart on fire."
In answering the call into servanthood, Clelia advises, "it is essential to stay awake - unlike Peter who fell asleep in the Garden - never ceasing, never to tire, and with a burning spirit. Be passionately active and ready for Him when He knocks." Then she chuckled and said to the ordinands, "If you think your busy now, just wait...but never be too busy to rest, reflect, pray and listen to God."
Clelia offered one last piece of wisdom that are words we can all do well to remember as Christian servants in this world, "Open hearts and abundant love are essential tools of the trade."
After the homily, Bishop Russell continued with the order of service for the Ordination of a Deacon, found in the Book of Common Prayer. For anyone who attended the service, you will agree that one of the most holy times came when the whole congregation called forth the Holy Spirit by singing softly together Veni Creator Spiritus. Bishop Russell prayed over each ordinand and laid his hands upon each head, consecrating them a deacon.
Please help us welcome into the Sacred Order of Deacons: Ryan Daniel Currie, Sara Dulaney Phillips, Alice Sherman Sawyer, Thomas Forbes Sirmon, and Joshua Wayne Woods.