This coming weekend the ordination services were to have taken place in Salisbury Cathedral. The priests’ ordination was to have been on Saturday, with Solveig Sonet amongst those to have hands laid upon them, and the ordination of deacons, would have occurred on Sunday 28th July, including Nick Webb, who is to serve his curacy in the St Aldhelm’s benefice, consisting of Langton Matravers, Worth Matravers and Kingston. Due to the health crisis and the closure of churches and cathedrals for worship, some weeks ago the Bishop took the decision to postpone the services until Saturday 26th September. The two ordinations will take place on the same day now. We hope and pray that they will go ahead without further delay, but of course that is not guaranteed. I am sure that you all share with Solveig and Nick and their families and friends this disappointment.
Some people will know both Nick and Solveig, others maybe one or other, but as we feel for them and pray for them as they renew plans and look forward to the autumn, may I wish them every blessing in these coming weeks, and especially this weekend as the thought of what was to have happened, but has now been put off is on their minds.
For Solveig, the change is relatively little in practical terms as there are no Communion services at the moment, and no weddings that she was about to conduct - which are the two major areas of ministry which moving from deacon to priest alter. However, when one is preparing for priestly ministry, there is an awareness that this is a very significant step, and, whilst we don’t look any different, we feel it. Most clergy see their ordination to the priesthood as the true watershed of their life and ministry, and to have this moved carries a deeper gulf of disappointment than one might expect.
For Nick, he begins his curacy as a lay minister, so will be licensed to the St Aldhelm’s benefice and work closely with James Mercer, its priest, from this coming Sunday. Nick, who with Naomi, have contributed so much to the life of the Church in Swanage, both in youth work initially, then in heading up Breakfast@9, has a great deal of experience to offer in his new post. I am sure that we will not lose touch - and his gardening business continues too!
May God’s blessing be with you, Nick and Solveig!