On Tuesday the 28th of February we welcomed out new Vicar Fr Jordan Greatbatch with a formal induction service. The service was led by Bishop Peter Carrell and Archdeacon Megan Herles-Mooar.
The service was also our first full run of our new live streaming system. We are very grateful for Grant Hadley who set the system up and sourced equipment for us.
Read on for both the service video and the text of Bishop Peter's sermon.
The sermon begins at around the 26 minute mark in the video above.
Fr Jordan, tonight you become the Vicar of St Michael’s and All Angels parish, and thus a successor in a long line of vicars for this famous and, by New Zealand standards, ancient parish.
As your bishop, I am going to ask you to do one thing and one thing only as the vicar here. But that one thing needs a little introduction, and the introduction begins with our readings tonight, from Numbers, Ephesians and Luke.
Our work for God, whether as a vicar or another leader in the church, cannot be done and should not be done alone: delegate, share the tasks, trust others to get on with various jobs – that’s the message from Numbers. The Holy Spirit empowers all, not just some.
That same Holy Spirit, according to Ephesians, distributes gifts in the life of the church. Jordan, you will discover in the next days and weeks what those gifts are among the people of God here. And, people of God, you will discover the gifts of grace which Jordan has received.
And the point of all this grace and these diverse gifts: that we together as the body of Christ grow into maturity which includes growing in strength.
The passage from Luke keeps us all humble: when we have busted our guts for God, it turns out we are just doing our job as God’s servants and slaves, but we are blessed when the Lord Jesus finds us faithful in following him.
With all these important aspects of our ministry and mission for the God of Jesus Christ in mind, what is, nevertheless, the one thing and only one thing I want to ask of you, Fr Jordan?
This is a parish with an historic and contemporary identity as an Anglo-Catholic parish.
That means at least this: at the forefront of anglo-catholic understanding about what it means to be the church of God is an understanding that the presence of Jesus is made real in the Mass, that the eucharistic bread and wine manifest the body and blood of Christ so the risen Christ lives among us in material form and we are fed and nurtured by Christ’s real presence in our lives. The very least thing you will do as priest in this parish is to gather the people of God around the Lord’s Table to celebrate the Mass so that they and you are fed and nurtured in your life in Christ.
But that is not the one thing I want you to do.
The one thing I ask of you, Fr Jordan, is that you allow Jesus himself to be present to this congregation through your own pastoral, physical presence among God’s people here.
Let Jesus Christ be your life as priest in this parish. When people meet you – in the schoolyard and classroom, in Riverside Market on the footpath, here in the church and in the homes of parishioners – let Jesus meet them through you.
Be the living presence of Jesus in their lives.
The Apostle Paul said, memorably, in Galatians,
“it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”
We say a lot of things these days about the church, its faults, it failures, its foibles and its fractions. Most of the criticism is deserved but we can be lulled into thinking, if we only fix the faults etc, then all will be well.
It would be good to fix the faults — of course!
But the present and future strength of the church will not rely on some kind of new perfection. Our present and future is always about Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the most exciting person anyone can ever meet. Church exists to introduce people to Jesus.
When, in the context of this special service, I talk about the one thing I ask of Fr Jordan, it is of course at the same time something I am asking of each of us.
Let us be Jesus Christ in the world today.
Fr Jordan, to you belongs the privilege (and the responsibility) of leading this parish through your own example of being Jesus in the world.
Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives.