Celebration of New Ministry a joyous service
By Dawn Clarke (St. John the Divine, North Bay)
The Celebration of New Ministry, Nov. 14, which saw the induction of Fr. Kevin McAllister as the incumbent of the newly formed three-point parish of St. John the Divine, St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s was truly a joyful event.
The service was held at St. John’s in North Bay, but it was reflective of the joint parish concept with many people from all three congregations joining in the celebration as well as clergy from throughout the deanery.
Archdeacon Joan Locke presided over the service and invited the congregation to join Fr. Kevin in the building up of the parish and Archbishop Anne Germond reminded them in a letter that the “Church is a community of hope.”
Several members of the congregation presented various appropriate symbols of the ministry of the whole people of God such as the water of baptism, oil for anointing, a copy of the canons of the diocese, keys to the three churches, prayer books, bread and wine.
While the service was one of celebration it became a family celebration when Nicholas, Fr. Kevin’s son, presented him with a bible, saying, Dad, hold before us the story of God’s love and mercy and, above all, the Gospel of our Saviour Christ. Be among us as a preacher of the word of God and teacher of the faith.
The Rev. Dr. Peter Armstrong offered the sermon and said, “Fr. Kevin has been given gifts by God: He is called to parish leadership. He is to preach, to administer the sacraments, to provide pastoral care and to undertake the necessary administrative responsibilities. He is ultimately responsible for coordinating the exercise of the gifts which we all offer in these parishes and neighbourhoods.
However, he also stressed that the parishioners of St. John’s, St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s are being called to do their part.
He referred to one of the Readings, Romans 12: 1-18 and said, “The list in Romans is not exhaustive, but Paul mentions particular we are called to encourage and to teach each other; we are to speak out the words God wants us to speak; to serve and to minister,” he said. “It cannot be emphasized enough – we all have a role to play, and the Church of God is at her healthiest when we dare to respond to Christ’s love, and collectively exercise our ministries.
“This is not Fr. Kevin’s work alone. Nor do the laity stay the same – Trillium and St. John’s entering into a relationship together changes all sides. This is a new ministry for everyone, and we are learning how to live this out.”
We offer our congratulations to St. John’s, St. Peter’s, St. Mary’s, and the Rev. Kevin McAllister as they begin ministry together.