‘Invest in your relationship with God’– Ordination of Deacons in Dublin & Glendalough
“Life as an ordained person is not defined by what you do but rather by how invested you are in your relationship with God.” This was the advice from Dean Dermot Dunne to the Revd Alexander Chisnall and the Revd Edwin Aiken who were ordained Deacons yesterday (Sunday September 19) in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. The service was celebrated by Archbishop Michael Jackson and was sung by the Cathedral Choir.
As restrictions on congregation numbers have eased somewhat, Alexander and Edwin were joined at the service by family, friends and fellow clergy, as well as representatives from the parishes in which they will serve for the coming months as Deacons, Wicklow and Holmpatrick.
Introducing the service, Archbishop Jackson noted that “while our circumstances are reduced, they are wholehearted” and thanked the Dean and all at the cathedral who made the service possible. The service was livestreamed on the cathedral’s webcam for those who could not attend.
In his sermon, Dean Dunne, told Alexander and Edwin that ordained ministry was a juggling act between the demands of parish life and a deep internal life. The demands of parish life could draw on a priest’s worship life, he said, adding that he had often heard clergy say that the level of admin they were faced with often precluded a deep prayer life. “They are saying ‘I have no time for God’,” the Dean said.
Every moment of every day is filled with the buzz and din of media of one type or another, he stated. “Generally every moment needs to be full because if it isn’t, there is a vacuum that seems hollow. What drives our activity is a deep down fear. All our news stories are driven by fear. Never before has fear and fear of death been so strongly felt. This incessant activity is driven by the need to drown it out,” he said.
As spiritual leaders, Priests and Deacons, needed to lead the way in how their life is lived, he said asking how much had clergy been led by the drama of fear. “To be true to ourselves we need to address the deep hunger within each of us to expand and grow our understanding of God,” the Dean explained.
He said they must distinguish between outer purpose and inner purpose. The outer purpose focuses on activity but the inner purpose is about consciousness of God. “It is only by doing this that we become true pastors of God’s people… Alexander and Edwin, life as an ordained person is not defined by what you do but rather by how invested you are in your relationship with God,” Dean Dunne said concluding that true poverty in a Priest or Deacon would be if they had not grown spiritually in their years since ordination.