June 2017

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

On June 30th I celebrate a double anniversary, my 5th anniversary ordination as a deacon and the 4th as a priest. I’m not sure I shall ever be able to live up to a retired colleague, from my first curacy, Canon Tom Barnes’ Golden Jubilee (particularly as I was a late ordinand) but he is certainly a great and encouraging example to me. However, I am not sure my life span will make it to 96!
I clearly remember my priesting, it’s one of those events which will remain with me for the rest of my life. Particularly the moment when I knelt before Bishop Geoff for the laying on of hands along with the other invited priests who had all played a special part in my vocation. This was followed by anointing with the Holy Oil of Chrism, both were moments where I had a real sense of the Holy Spirit working through the Bishop. And I had that same sense of presence during Forrest. Lily and Matthew’s confirmation recently
For me priesthood is about service to those I minister among, witnessing their life and faith journeys and accompanying them as they offer their hurts and hopes, needs and joys as they offer them to God.
St Augustine wrote ‘you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until we find rest in you’. Avoiding the calling to priesthood would have been a mistake as it is in this calling that my heart is at rest in the Lord.
I put myself forward to be tested for ordination because I heard Christ’s voice calling me to the priesthood. I had no idea where this journey would lead me but I had to put my faith in God that Christ would call me to what was best both for me and the people I serve.
I want to take the opportunity of thanking you all for the privilege of allowing me to grow in my ministry as I serve alongside you as your vicar. And I pray that you may discern God’s calling for you and he ministry that he wants you to carry out in your own lives.

Yours, in Christ

Rev Tracy Swindells