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Christ Church Cathedral was the venue for a service of Installation and Collation June 11 as Leo Martin and Paul Ranson were collated as territorial archdeacons of Saint John and Fredericton respectively; and Kevin Borthwick and Chris Hayes were installed as canons of the Cathedral. 

Dean Geoffrey Hall and Archbishop David Edwards presided. The Rev. Jasmine Chandra preached. According to the tradition, the office of canon is an honorary designation at the sole discretion of the Bishop of Fredericton.

Jasmine began by thanking the four priests — “four wonderful people who have each shown me such wisdom, grace, and friendship,” she said.

The day’s celebration of life and leadership in the church causes us to look forward to “a future that right now is receiving a lot of mixed messages… Everything has changed.

“Psychologist and author Dr. Jody Carrington wrote in her latest book that ‘Many ‘best practices’ we employ to interact with each other were created for a world that no longer exists,’” she said. “The systems we are used to are no longer operational.”

So as we celebrate Paul, Leo, Chris and Kevin today, how do we encourage them? How will we guide our broken communities to God?

George Sumner, in “Being Salt,” says, our priests “are like the canaries lowered into the post-Christian mineshaft, for they feel most directly the discouragement of decline, the scurrying about of parishes and denominations in search of social approval, and the confused appropriation of the consumer standards of the culture.” 

But there is good news. We’ve actually been here before, many times. 

“While everything is changing, while the world whirls around us, while we struggle and grapple with how to do things now, and how to bring the healing light of Christ to people who so desperately need hope, we know that while the challenges maybe new, the struggle certainly isn’t,” said Jasmine.

In the gospel reading from Matthew 15, Jesus presents a different way of life, a new way full of compassion for others. We see that after healing countless sick people, as the people were praising God, Jesus expressed compassion for these thousands of people who had been with him for days and were hungry.

‘I don’t want to send them home with nothing or they might faint on their journey,’ Jesus said. 

The disciples almost scoffed at Jesus, asking ‘where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?’

“And isn’t that just like us? Isn’t their response so often what we do in the church?” asked Jasmine. “Wow Jesus, it’s so great that you did that stuff and helped those other people out, but come on, let’s be realistic now, we can’t deal with these issues.

“We have watched him gather up and heal the broken, the hurt, the sick. We have amazing stories of restoration in our midst, we have our own transformed lives,” said Jasmine.

“Yet in a case of instant amnesia, we forget all his power and love and grace and can only see reasons of why things won’t work — we don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough people, we don’t have the ‘right’ people, we don’t have enough time.”

Or a favourite line: ‘We just don’t have the capacity to deal with this.’ 

It’s a good thing Jesus doesn’t get angry with us. Instead he sees our weak faith and rolls with it. He wants us involved, she said, by asking a question like, ‘how many loaves have you?’ 

“I love what Frederick Bruner says in his commentary on Matthew… He writes, ‘Jesus asks for inventory. The lesson for the church facing today's crises is to ask ourselves, in Jesus' spirit: ‘What do we have here in hand, however slight, that we can offer to our Lord for the service of the world?"’

From those few loaves and fishes, God multiplied, so much so that the leftovers filled seven baskets.

“Jesus multiplies the little they have — the little faith, the little bread, the few fish — and it ends up being way more than is needed,” she said. 

Jasmine noted the service today was a recognition of the gifts given to Leo, Paul, Chris and Kevin, “But the greatest thing they have accomplished is that they have shown up, answering ‘yes’ to each call and maintaining their faith that God is working still, and expecting God to act in their specific situations and in the church as a whole. 

“Whether it’s dance parties at Chris’s parish; maintaining ministry in smaller communities like Campobello Island, making our spaces, like Christ the King Church, more accessible; or seeking ways to minister to the poor in Fredericton, our communities need us to have faith that God is at work and that God wants us to be part of what He is doing.

“God is incessantly at work here and now,” she said. “Jesus called on the disciples to help him feed over 4,000 people in the middle of nowhere. He continues to call on his church to feed and serve those around us. Our role is to give what we have and help pass it out, then gather up the leftovers.” 

As we celebrate the leadership and faith of Leo, Paul, Chris and Kevin, we must ask God to multiply their gifts, and multiply other leaders like them, she said.

“As we celebrate the ministry that God has done in Chris, Paul, Leo, and Kevin, may the noise of our praising God drown out our fears and give us faith,” she said.

After the service, a reception was held at Cathedral Memorial Hall, where everyone enjoyed fellowship and food. The Parish of Parish of Douglas & Nashwaaksis, Paul’s parish, provided refreshments, along with the Bishop’s office.

1.   Front row:  Archdeacon Paul Ranson, Archdeacon Leo Martin, Canon Chris Hayes, Canon Kevin Borthwick. Back row:  Archbishop David Edwards, Dean Geoffrey Hall.

2.  The four priests during the service of installation and collation.

3.  The Rev. Jasmine Chandra preaching during the service.

4.  The reception at Cathedral Memorial Hall was a chance for many to renew friendships.

McKnight photos

1 Comment

Mike Briggs 11 months ago

Congratulations to all 4 of you, sorry Judy and I could not be there to celebrate with you

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