Michelle Deans – A reflection on my ordination day

06 July 2023

The ordinations are one of the highlights of the Methodist Conference week. On Sunday 25 June, having been received into Full Connexion on Sunday morning, presbyters and deacons travelled to nearby Coventry with their families and friends for the afternoon where the diaconal ordinations took place at Coventry Central Hall and the presbyteral ordinations were held at Coventry Cathedral.

In this blog, the Revd Michelle Deans shares her personal experience of her ordination day.

I would liken my ordination to that of my wedding day, except there were thirteen of us all getting married at the same time. In the room, where the ordinands were gathered, the air was thick with anticipation mixed with nervousness and excitement. We had all been on this journey, experiencing the highs and lows of learning, training, and growing together. We are all so different and yet God called each one of us, by name, to enter the ministry.

The day consisted of two parts, the first being welcomed into full Connexion in the Methodist Church in Britain and then being ordained to the ‘…presbyterate in the holy catholic and apostolic Church’ as it says in the ordination order of service booklet.

When the Methodist Conference all stood to agree that we were fully welcomed it was very moving. Being affirmed by so many people, after all the hard work and testing of our calling, was a little overwhelming; there were a few happy tears. The worship was wonderful; it was a hugely joyful celebration of Methodists singing out their hearts to God in thanks and praise.

In the afternoon, we gathered at the awe-inspiring Coventry Cathedral, a place I had never visited before. It’s a place where the past and the present converge to create a pseudo-gothic atmosphere. After the ceremony, my grandson grabbed my hand and tried to drag me off so that we could go and explore the ruins; to him, I’m simply Grandma. While, to the people who stood and called out in unison, ‘They are worthy,’ I am worthy to be a presbyter in the universal Church of Christ.

During the examination part of the service, listening to what each of us have been called into, it was suddenly more real than ever. Even though I had been doing all the things listed throughout my probation, I was now making a ‘…lifelong commitment to this ministry.’ Unlike when I was married back in 1987, I said, ‘I do…, I do…, I do…, I will…, I will….’

Stepping forward and kneeling before the President of the Methodist Conference, who had been my Chair of District and my Superintendent during my probation years, was truly wonderful. I was so happy that she was the one with the Conference’s authority to ordain me. Having my assisting minister at my side and the Global Relationships partner representative, the Revd Peter Taylor, President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, along with the President laying hands on my head was a profound moment. My hands were clasped in front of me and then, as if prompted by God, I held them out to receive the Holy Spirit.

I wanted to linger in that moment so that it would be etched in my heart and mind and never fade away.

By the grace of God, I pray that will be a reality for me and the other twelve ordinands. Just as the memory of my wedding day is a reminder of the vows I made before God; I pray that my ordination day memories will sustain me throughout my ministry.