How inspiring it was to enter a full Holy Trinity Cathedral on 21 April for the ordination of Paul Hobby, Kasey Holyman, Richard Pennington and Michelle Wood – four people from different backgrounds and with varied gifts which they bring to the Diocese of Wangaratta. The ordinands answered the Bishop’s questions firmly and confidently, while acknowledging that it is through God’s grace their gifts will be fully realized.

Once the Bishop, with the other priests present, had laid hands on each candidate, they were enthusiastically acclaimed by their families and friends present, many from the parishes in which they will exercise their ministries.

Bishop John’s sermon focussed on the difficulty that Jesus’ disciples found with some of his teachings (John 6:60-69) and the resultant exodus from the disciples’ ranks. Jesus asked the remaining disciples if they too were offended by his teachings and said ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Speaking to the ordinands, but really to all of us, Bp John suggested that some people get only so far in their faith and then it all becomes too hard. The new priests, along with their parishioners, might face such occasions when they, too, wish to go away, because ministry is difficult. After hearing God’s call to ordination, after months or years of pondering, discernment and preparation, after the quiet God-moment of the ordination retreat, a time when doubts may really surface, Paul, Kasey, Richard and Michelle need only hold in their hearts and minds their repeated response to Bishop John’s questions ‘I will, by God’s grace’.

For all of us, it is only through God’s grace that we can start to understand Jesus’ teachings and be priests and ministers to others. What a privilege to join with the newly ordained priests in this joyful service and to support them in their ongoing ministry.