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Christ Church Cathedral easily holds 250, but on April 1, Maundy Thursday, about 30 people were present for the Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oils service.

Archbishop David Edwards presided, with Dean Geoffrey Hall assisting. Cheryl Jacobs read the intersessions, while the Rev. Chris Tapera, new rector in the Parish of Bathurst, and Debbie Edwards gave the readings.

Layreaders, one deacon, priests and one bishop renewed their vows during the service. Normally a lunch follows, but with pandemic restrictions in place, no food was served.

During his sermon, David talked of the importance of marking the call of God to ministry.

“Today is in the holiest of weeks, and we gather here to celebrate and remember,” he said. “Some are called to ‘particular and weighty’ roles, though we are share a role.”

He talked of blessing the oils, and the significance of the olive tree in scripture as a sign of reconciliation.

“Reconciliation, peace and healing — these are three important aspects we share in ministry and are reminded of today, even as the world appears to be in a great convulsion.”

• Personal reconciliation comes when humanity’s intended relationship with God is restored as we share in ministry together.

• Healing comes when the body of Christ shares the message of God, and reflects the image of God. In our roles, we must be that reflection, he said.

• Peace comes when the world is reconciled with the whole of creation. “The world is groaning in antic-ipation of this redemptive act,” he said. “It is of cosmic significance, and we have a role to play in that.

“From all of this, flows peace,” he said. “If all nations could begin this journey, there’d be no exploitation.”

David noted the United Nations has recognized just two instances of the world seeking real reconcilia-tion: The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, after the era of Apartheid ended; and the German policy of reconciliation after the Second World War.

“Peace begins with us,” he said. “How do we find our place, our peace, our homes?”

He told the story of his own flight from peace.

“I had no intention of being a priest,” he said. “When my bishop suggested it, I did a Jonah and jumped into the biggest fish I could find. But I knew the bishop was right. I found peace, purpose, my place in the order of things.

“As we gather today, as those called to minister the gospel of Christ, let us reflect on the different ways of reconciliation, wholeness and healing.”

After the sermon, David conducted the renewal of ministry vows. Priests travelled from Petitcodiac, Bathurst, Doaktown, Saint John and other points to attend.

At the end of the service, though there was no formal gathering, there was much socially distanced chat-ting as many attendees had not seen each other in several months.

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

1. A small group of about 30 gathered for the Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oils service April 1, Maundy Thursday, at Christ Church Cathedral.

2. Dean Geoffrey Hall and Archbishop David Edwards prepare the elements for Holy Eucharist.

3. The Rev. Chris Tapera, new rector in the Parish of Bathurst, made the trip to Fredericton for the service. Here he presents a reading during the service.

McKnight photos


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