On Monday April 6, the bishop, the priests and the deacons of the diocese renewed their ordination vows during a warmly intimate service attended by several lay people at All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth.
Bp. Edwin F. [Ted] Gulick Jr. will participate in this same service in the Diocese of Kentucky for the priests and the deacons there, on April 8 at Grace Church in Hopkinsville and on April 9 in Christ Church Cathedral in Louisville.
Bishop Gulick told the priests and deacons of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth that he was “in awe” of them for their faithful service to the Episcopal Church.
He opened the reaffirmation of ordination vows by saying to both the priests and deacons, “My sisters and brothers, at the Last Supper our Lord Jesus Christ gave his disciples a new commandment, that they should love one another, and he prayed that they might be one. He gave them an everlasting sign of his love in the sacrament of his body and blood. He consecrated himself to God’s service, to be the high priest of the New Covenant. I invite you now to dedicate yourselves afresh to his service as stewards of the mysteries of God and ministers of God’s grace and love. At your ordination you accepted the yoke of Christ because of your love of the Lord and his Church. Are you resolved to unite yourselves more closely to Christ, becoming more like him each day, joyfully sacrificing your own desires and ambitions to bring his peace and love to your sisters and brothers in the church, and justice and mercy to the whole world?
And the priests and the deacons responded, “By the help of God, I will.”
The bishop then addressed the deacons, saying, “At your ordination as a deacon, you received the yoke of Christ, who came not to be served but to serve. Will you continue faithfully in this ministry, to build up God’s people in truth, and serve them faithfully in God’s name?
And the deacons responded, “By the help of God, I will.”
The bishop addressed the priests, saying, “At your ordination to the priesthood, you received authority to watch over and care for God’s people, to absolve and bless them in God’s name, to proclaim the gospel of salvation, and to celebrate the sacraments of the New Covenant. Will you continue as faithful stewards of the mysteries of God, preaching the gospel of Jesus, and ministering the holy sacraments?”
And the priests responded, “By the help of God, I will.”
Then the Rev. Christopher Jambor, a member of the Standing Committee, addressed the bishop, saying, “At your ordination as bishop, the gift of the Spirit was stirred up in you that you might lead the Church in mission and send out ministers in Christ’s name; that you might promote its unity, uphold its discipline, and guard its faith; and that you might teach and care for the people committed to your care. Will you continue faithfully in this ministry, watching over Christ’s own flock, and building them up in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace?
And the bishop responded, “By the help of God, I will.”
The bishop asked the congregation to “pray for all who minister, that they may be constant in prayer and steadfast in faith, and serve your people with joy.”
The ritual washing of feet was an emotional time for many, including the bishop, as one by one, the priests and deacons watched the bishop kneel before each of them, take a foot in a gentle hand and wash and dry it. Then the three deacons performed the same ritual for the bishop.
At the conclusion, all said, “Peace is my last gift to you, my own Peace I now leave with you; Peace which the world cannot give, I give you.”
After the Confession, the bishop paused so he, the priests and the deacons could recall and recount a specific sin before God and share it with another if so moved. A quiet sound like a whispering wind moved among them as several did so. Then each priest personally absolved the person next to him or her, after which the bishop and the Rev. Maurine Lewis and the Rev. William Stanford moved into the congregation to absolve the people there.
After the Eucharist, the bishop blessed vials of sacred oils for each to take. The service was followed by a soup and salad luncheon.