Page 2 - Moravian Messenger January 2019
P. 2

New Bishop Consecrated at Gracehill
Few members of the Church will be unaware of the upset caused to many people by the incorrect claim made by The Children's Society that they introduced the Christingle Service to this country 50 years ago.
Perhaps there are deeper reasons for this upset than just inaccurate claims from a charity wishing to maximise its fundraising potential. Part of our hurt is over the perception that this is trampling over a beloved tradition in our Church, a treasured memory from our childhoods and one memory we hope to bequeath to our children and grandchildren. I am sure too that another feeling is that this has happened because we are small church. One cannot imagine a charity 'borrowing' a visual image from a bigger church, and then omit to recognise its origins correctly. It has unconsciously made people feel as though we don't matter, we can be sidelined and what we have as a treasure can just be appropriated from us without any acknowledgement.
I am sure that that this has not been a deliberate act by The Children's Society but just shoddy research which brings credit on no one. The Provincial Board has been in touch with the BBC and with the Children's Society and a meeting with The Children's Society is I understand, scheduled for the New Year. It would be ungracious not to mention that The Children's Society and the BBC have made changes to their wording in some places.
Sr Lorraine Parsons, our Church House Archivist, has been researching in the Provincial Archives and she has discovered that the first mention in the Moravian Messenger about Christingles is in a congregation report from the Bristol Congregation in 1891. The first mention of Christingles being candles and oranges is again in the Moravian Messenger reporting from Fairfield in 1903.
So, the Messenger Editorial Team would like to hear from archivists or anyone interested in stories from your congregation' archives, whether they are
After Bishop McOwat's acceptance of this testimony and granting the request, the hymn, 'Come, Let us all with Gladness Raise,' was sung - a hymn that, according to tradition was written for the ordination of the first Moravian ministers in 1467.
Bishop Graham Rights (from Winston- Salem, USA) then preached the sermon for the occasion, offering four images for
as a shepherd of Christ's flock, and places in your hands the royal law. Receive this book, here are the words of eternal life. Take them for your guide and declare them to the world.'
As the official representative of the Unity at the service, Bishop Rights then read a letter to Sr Sarah from the Rev Cortroy Jarvis, President of the Unity Board and
Sr Sarah to keep in view in her service as a bishop. The first image was that of Jesus Christ as our Chief Elder, to whose service bishops are consecrated. The second image was that of a towel, symbolising Jesus' call to servant ministry. The third was that of the Good Shepherd, which speaks to the pastoral function of the bishop as a pastor to pastors and congregations. The fourth was that of the surplice, representing the priestly function of the bishop who is to be a channel for God to reach others, and a channel for the needs of others to be taken to God. He also issued a charge to the congregation to fulfil their role in the priesthood of all believers by caring for their pastors and bishops.
Following the sermon, Bishop McOwat led the liturgy for consecration of a bishop, the other bishops joining him in laying on hands as he pronounced, 'Sister Sarah, we consecrate you to be a Bishop in the Church of God, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.' All joined in with 'Amen.' Bishop McOwat continued with, 'The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace' and all joined in with 'In the name of Jesus. Amen.' After silent prayer, all sang the Consecration Doxology.
Bishop McOwat then issued a charge to the new bishop, which was followed by the singing of 'Take My Life, and Let It Be.' Sr Zoe Taylor, member of the Provincial Board, presented a Bible with the words, 'Sister Sarah the Moravian Church receives you
Gracehill Choir
the Rev Jørgen Bøytler, Unity Business Administrator, with the following message:
'On behalf of the worldwide Moravian Unity, we greet you in the name of our Chief Elder.
On the occasion of your consecration as a bishop of the Unity, we send our regards, prayers and best wishes for you and for the whole Moravian Church in the British Province. We congratulate you with all our heart.
Your service to the British Province and to the Unity at large will be appreciated. We pray that you will find wisdom and strength in your continued service for the Unitas Fratrum.
You are the 370th Bishop in the Unity since its beginning and the 308th Bishop of the renewed Moravian Church.'
Sr Sarah led the conclusion of the service by offering prayer, after which the hymn, 'In Heavenly Love Abiding,' was sung and she pronounced the benediction. All then joined in singing the Recessional Hymn, 'One More Step Along the World I Go.'
Following the service, a reception was enjoyed in Gracehill Moravian's Cennick Hall during which an 'open mike' opportunity was offered to all present.
By means of this service, God has provided and will provide abundant blessings to Bishop Sarah Groves, to the British Province, to the worldwide Moravian Unity, and to the Universal Church of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!
Br Graham Rights
American Province, South
© Sr Roberta Gray

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