The ordination to the priesthood of Harold Boomer, Jonathan Hallewell, Cole Hartin and Rob Montgomery took place at Christ Church Cathedral June 23. The weather was sunny and the church was almost full with family, friends, supporters and parishioners of the four men.
The Rev. Caleb Twinamatsiko, rector of the Parish of Pennfield, was the preacher. Since the event was on the Eve of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, that biblical figure played a large role in Caleb’s sermon.
But first, he thanked Bishop David Edwards for inviting him to speak at the event.
“I was tempted to decline the invitation,” he said. “My worry was how to deliver a sermon in 15 minutes.”
In Uganda, where he is from, sermons are upwards of an hour or more, he said.
“As we gather with our brothers, we celebrate the nativity of John, because of the place he has in the salvation plan for us as a forerunner of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Caleb outlined a few points about the story of John’s birth, and in particular, how Elizabeth and Zechariah responded to the challenges of the amazing news of his coming. First was their faithfulness and obedience at the news.
“When Zechariah was told they were going to have a baby, he was doubtful, skeptical, and because of that, he was made silent, but he remained obedient,” he said.
That obedience continued when it came time to name the baby. “John” said Elizabeth, stating the baby’s name, even when their relatives were shocked and questioned her.
“She maintained the name chosen for him by God, the name for which their son was destined,” said Caleb, adding that when her husband was suddenly able to speak, he too obediently stated the baby’s name was to be John.
That faithfulness continued through John’s life of selflessness and humility. He shunned fame, even when it was thrust upon him.
“When Jesus appeared, John’s witness was, ‘Behold! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ (Jn 1:29) And if anyone pointed out to John’s glory and gifts, he humbly pointed to Jesus and said, ‘He must become greater; I must become less.’ (Jn 3:30).
“He did not worry about what it would cost him, and of course we know later it cost him his life,” he said.
“So Brethren, as the Bishop ordains and sends our brothers in the name of God on a similar mission like that of John the Baptist, we are all called to join them to promote God’s message of salvation. This call doesn’t only come now. It’s what we accepted at Baptism — to be Jesus’ witnesses.”
These new priests are being sent in the world that has more criticisms than appreciation and some of it will come from their own friends, relatives, neighbours — or even congregations.
“We need to support them in every way possible, most especially through prayer,” he said.
Caleb told of a habit in Uganda of people moving from church to church in search of miracles. To lure people in, some pastors have fallen to temptation and set up fake miracles to impress.
When such come things come your way, he said, “Remember, the Church belongs to Christ.”
After the consecration of the priests, the bishop invited the large crowd of clergy present to lay hands on the men as he prayed for God to send down the Holy Spirit on each one, asking a blessing on their ministries.
As is customary, each of the four men received a bible, chalice and paten “as signs of the authority given you to preach the word of God and to administer his holy sacraments.”
After the service, everyone was invited to Cathedral Memorial Hall for fellowship and refreshments. Bishop David used the opportunity to present each of the new priests with their licences.
The Rev. Harold Boomer serves in the Parish of Woodstock. The Rev. Jonathan Hallewell serves in the Parish of Renforth. The Rev. Dr. Cole Hartin serves in the Parish of Portland. The Rev. Rob Montgomery is the chaplain at Rothesay Netherwood School, and as of Aug. 1 will move from the Parish of Rothesay to the Parish of Gondola Point.
• • •
Earlier this month, the four ordinands were asked to answer these questions:
Who is Jesus to you?
How did you find your ministry path?
What traits do you have that will serve you well as a priest?
At the end of your ministry, how would you hope to be described or remembered?
1. Jesus is my strength and redeemer. Throughout my life, regardless of how far I have strayed from the church, I have always known and clung to His love. It is by His strength that I can proudly stand and say I am a Christian.
2. Over the 50+ years of my life, I have run away from a calling to serve on many occasions. I have always found excuses and reasons why I couldn’t listen to my heart, first it was school, then it was work, then it was a young family and timing. Sickness and loss of friends and family kept bringing me back to my knees in front of God, the only place I could find healing and comfort. It was here that I surrendered to His will and by His Grace found peace.
3. Having grown up in a very loving and caring family atmosphere, I have tried to provide the same nurturing environment with my wife, Andrea, for our family. In all the years I have supervised crews, both in private industry and civil service, I have led by example and would never ask someone to do something I wouldn’t so myself. Empathy, compassion and love are gifts from our Heavenly Father and play a huge part in my life, I pray that my connection with Him remains strong and that I may always share these gifts with all of my brothers and sister in creation.
4. In a perfect world I would hope that I may be remembered as a person who treated everyone I met with the same level of respect, regardless of who they were. A person who loved all of God’s children and told them how valued they were by Him. A person who was helpful, compassionate, empathetic, willing to go the extra distance to make a difference. A person who would be missed — in a perfect world.
1. Thinking about this question takes me immediately to the Father’s revelation to St. Peter in Matthew 16:16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and then perhaps to the Nicene Creed, “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all words, light of light, very God of very God,” etc. Whoever else Jesus is to me has to conform to God’s self-revelation in Scripture as it was been received in the Church. What else can I say?
A question I find myself asking more often is this: Who am I to Jesus? And I find his beautiful (and terrible!) love is the only ground on which I can stand.
2. From the time of I was a preteen, I had a sense that I wanted to be in pastoral ministry, and this was confirmed one afternoon while I was lying on my bedroom floor staring up at my white stucco ceiling, praying. I felt a clear sense that God was calling me to be a pastor, especially to younger people. This vocation has looked different throughout the various phases of my life, but as time went on, and I continued to study, to pray, to discern, and to listen to the input of others, I realized it would best be fulfilled as an Anglican priest, by the grace of God. I’ve never really doubted this calling, though its shape has morphed and changed.
3. I try to listen to criticism as if I am listening to the voice of God. I’m not always successful, but I try. Sometimes other peoples’ criticisms are destructive, but most often they can tell me something very important about myself or my ministry that I might not have known otherwise. Cultivating this spirit of listening, to God and to others, is one of the traits that I think (or hope!) will serve me well as a priest.
4. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. My one goal in life and ministry is to be able to stand before God, by his grace, unashamed. I want to be faithful to him whether I’m remembered for that or not. Ultimately, nothing else matters. And I want to honour my family (especially Amy, my wife, and my sons), and to be a faithful witness in my church and community.
When I pray, even to Father, Jesus is my first thought. All I am and have in God is through Him and what He has done. He has saved me into this journey of knowing Him, Father and Holy Spirit. My relationship with Jesus is growing, hopefully so that my understanding moves toward the reality of who He is, become friends, although this word doesn’t adequately describe this relationship. Sometimes He seems especially present, and these are the times that I finally shut up and bask in His beauty.
2. Almost from the moment I gave my life to Jesus as the age of 11, I would have encounters with God while people were praying for me, and many of them would have words of prophecy over my life about different expressions of ministry. God placed me in relationship with different people, often unexpectedly, who opened up different opportunities to minister to others. This is often daunting, but I keep trusting him and saying yes.
3. Others have often described me as a people person. I like being with people and am interested in their lives. When I’m with people, God often gives me pictures or words that speak into their situations in ways I could not otherwise know. My openness to sharing these things can help people connect with how God is moving in their life, and can impart faith to them for following God’s leading in their life. I also tend to think outside of the box, which although disconcerting at times, can help people open up to considering how God maybe leading us in ways outside of that with which we are familiar, in addition to our inherited traditions.
4. In the church I hope that people will say that Jon never let us settle where we were at, that he always challenged us to be listening to what God was saying and to faithfully walk out that direction. Having said these things, I hope their focus will be on the Lord, how He is guiding and caring for them, and they may see that, among others, He sent a man named Jon.
1. Jesus is my Saviour, the Holy One who loves me and gave Himself for me. Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the One through whom God has definitively revealed Himself to the world. A quote from the theologian T.F. Torrance puts it well: “God is indeed really like Jesus, and… there is no unknown God behind the back of Jesus for us to fear; to see the Lord Jesus is to see the very face of God.” (The Triune God, by William Placher, page 139).
Over and over again, in my ministry and my personal life, Jesus has shared with me God’s holy love; gently and mercifully, but persistently calling me to follow after Him. In all sincerity, without Him I would be lost.
2. Ever since I was a teenager, I have felt the call of God in my life to pursue pastoral ministry. I am a newcomer here, both geographically (from Northwestern Ontario) and denominationally (raised Free Methodist & Baptist), and as a young adult pursuing God’s call I found myself studying theology at Providence University College (Manitoba).
Several of my professors there were Anglican ministers, and they recommended Wycliffe College to me if I was considering further studies. After a few years of Youth Ministry in the Free Methodist church, I finally took their advice, and my wife Bethany, daughter Adelaide, and I moved to Toronto for divinity studies.
While at Wycliffe, I quickly fell in love with the Anglican tradition I encountered there, and after graduating in 2016, a good friend, Rev. Dan McMullin, suggested I consider Anglican ministry in New Brunswick.
With some help, I reached out to Bishop David, who put me in contact with Canon Albert Snelgrove, who at the time was looking for someone to work with young families and youth at St. Paul’s in Rothesay. That opportunity brought my family here to the Maritimes, where I began the process of discernment that has led me to where I am today: anticipating ordination as an Anglican priest.
While there have been many who have helped me along this path, the people of St. Paul’s, both clergy and laity, have played a vital role in helping me discern and prepare for ordination to the priesthood, and I owe them all a deep debt of gratitude and love.
3. A love for and faith in the triune God; a spirit of gentleness and reverence; a drive for integrity and holiness; and conviction of prayer.
4. I would hope to be remembered as someone through whom the holy love of God in Christ Jesus has been made known; as a minister of God’s reconciliation, and an instrument of His peace.
Priests newly ordained, from left: Harold Boomer, Jon Hallewell, Rob Montgomery & Cole Hartin.