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I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your prayers for me and for Kathleen and Stephen during the last few days of my preparation for Ordination to the Priesthood.
The presence of so many friends from Barton at the Ordination Service in Lincoln Cathedral was tremendously uplifting and gratifying. For me it was the culmination of many years of study, prayer and preparation; tinged with not a little worry, doubt and anxiety. It was a most exciting and moving moment when the Bishop and the priests present laid their hands on my head, repeated the words used at Ordinations for hundreds of years: "Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Priest in the the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands..."
The climax, however, came on Monday evening, in St. Mary's Church, when I celebrated the Holy Communion and administered the Holy Sacrament for the first time. The fact that this memorable experience coincided with one of our Patronal festivals and that we were joined on this Feast Day by many old friends from St. Martin's Church in Grimsby, and a couple of old workmates, made the occasion, for me anyway, even more enjoyable. The beautiful rendering of the anthem "Lead me Lord" by the choir and organist, and the joyful singing of the hymns by the congregation, all combined to make my first celebration a truly wonderful and memorable experience.
I was also delighted that my very good frierid, the Reverend David Newman, St. Martin's parish priest, was able to assist at this celebration, along with my other friend and colleague, the Reverend Darrel Speedy. To both these men, I owe such a lot. Especially to David for his help and guidance before I entered the ministry, and for his assistance, spiritual comfort and help to Kathleen, Stephen and myself, during my three years at theological college: to Darrel for his help and guidance during the first year of my ministry here in Barton. He has been very patient and tolerant in trying to teach 'an old dog new tricks'!
The whole exciting evening ended with superb refreshments prepared by the Young Wives and served in the grounds of the Vicarage. My grateful thanks to all concerned.
Finally, my thanks to Father Charles Wall of St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Churchfor his attendance and the lovely comment he made to me in the vestry after the service. Only the fact of a previous engagement prevented the Methodist Minister, Reverend Rodney Owen from being present. Surely a welcome sign of the times when clergymen from other denominations not only want to, but can and do join together in public worship as well as in our weekly rrieetings for prayer and discussion on Monday mornings.
May we all continue by the Grace of God to grow in friendship and love as we serve him and his Church here in Barton.
Richard Emerson


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