Saturday, 25 June 2016

SUCH GRATITUDE: (Ordained as Deacon forty years ago today),

In June 1976, together with eight or nine other men I was incarcerated and on lock down for forty eight hours.

We were on a mandatory pre-ordination retreat at the retreat centre of the Diocese of Bristol, U.K.  

Some were to be ordained Priest, (those who been made Deacon a year before). I was in the class of those to be made Deacon.

On Sunday June 27th 1976 we were released to the care of a couple of minibus drivers and taken to Bristol’s Cathedral of The Holy and Undivided Trinity. As we alighted from the ‘buses at the rear entrance to the Cathedral on a gorgeous sunny day, the bells rang out in frenzy of change ringing. It was “magical”.

My sense of thrill and awe went deep as we vested for ordination in the Cathedral’s Chapter House (completed in 1160).  I thought of all the Priests and Monks who had used the Chapter House in more than 800 years of history.

The ordaining Bishop, John Tinsley had never before met me, but having been assured of my “sufficient learning and Godly conversation” he laid his hands on me, and I was made Deacon.

My mother was there (Dad had died two years before) together with seven of my eight siblings). None of them were Anglicans, so although the ceremonial was strange for them, they knew that they were participating in a solemn and holy occasion. 

My friend Kenyan Priest the Revd. James Kibe was also present.

After I had returned to the Chapter House to take off my vestments, I heard a heavily accented voice calling out “Povey, Povey”.

It was Greta Meyer, the mother of my High School pal Stephen Meyer.  Greta and her husband Martin had escaped Germany in 1939 and came to the U.K. as religious refugees. It’s hard to express how deeply I was moved that this Jewish immigrant had graced my ordination with her presence.

Ten days after my ordination I flew to Boston to take up a ministry at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fitchburg, MA.  (I was on a two year contract  -  but I am still in the U.S.A!

I’ll leave it for you to decide as to my “sufficient learning and Godly conversation” forty years later!

I was glad to be serving as Deacon at St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key on this morning. 

 “O Thou who camest from above” the hymn we sang today is a fine prayer for ordination (and for all ministry, lay and ordained).


 J. Michael Povey.

Bristol Cathedral

P.S. I take some pride in the fact that the Diocese of Bristol was the first to ordain women as priests in the Church of England on 12th March 1994


Here is the Hymn.

1 comment:

  1. There is no doubt about the beauty and worth of your ministry over these years. You have brought God's Blessing to more than you can count.