Monday, 20 July 2009

the long goodbye

Saturday was one long goodbye in Chelmsford Cathedral. In the morning we celebrated the St Mellitus College Graduation and Valedictory Service. The service was an opportunity for final year students to receive their academic awards and to give thanks for their time in training for ministry. During the service Readers, licensed last October, and recently ordained Deacons received their degrees and diplomas from Professor Edward Esche, Dean of Arts and Education at Middlesex University. It was a very special day as this was the first group of Readers to complete their training with St Mellitus College and be awarded the Dip HE Ministry, specifically designed for Reader training.

Readers Maureen McPherson, Julia MacGregor, Margaret Plant, Margaret Fowler and Jackie Sams. (Sue Sterry, Brenda Miller and Sue Masters were unable to attend.)

The Dean of St Mellitus, Rev Dr Graham Tomlin, was celebrant at the Valedictory Eucharist and Rev Dr David Hilborn preached on the theme of Ministry as Jazz, a theme which was continued throughout the day. Other members of staff took part in the service and we were joined in the Cathedral by family, friends and current students of the college.

Some of St Mellitus College Staff: Ann Coleman, Andy Knowles, Graham Tomlin, Mary Smith, Prof Edward Esche (Middlesex University), Phil Ritchie, Jeremy Ganga and David Hilborn.

After a buffet lunch and a good chat with students and guests, Graham and I headed off to the pub to catch the afternoon session of the Lord's Test Match before returning to the Cathedral for the second goodbye service, this time for Bishop John and Lydia Gladwin. Bishop John has served the Diocese for nearly six years as Bishop of Chelmsford and is the sixth bishop in a row to have the name John! It was another great occasion, with +John preaching and various tributes offered from those representing different aspects of his ministry both locally and nationally. +John is a great jazz fan so it was fitting that the service included some jazz and the refreshments afterwards were accompanied by a jazz band. Bishop John served as Chairman of Christian Aid, reflecting his passion for social justice, and in retirement he will take over as Chair of the Citizens Advice Bureau.

There was time for one more goodbye on Sunday when the family went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Professor Dumbledore has finally departed Hogwarts for the last time, though it took nearly two and a half hours to reach the denouement. My children are now engaged in a forensic dissection of the film and detailed comparison with the book. They have already identified several inconsistencies and gaps in the plot. I tremble in fear of the day when they turn their analytical skills on my sermons.

Rather than post a review of the film, I recommend the following reviews by +Alan Wilson and David Keen.

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