Last month, I visited Brisbane for the first time in a couple of years to celebrate the Eucharist with the Parish of St Teresa of Avila.
The particular occasion of this visit was to celebrate Father Brenden Humberdross completing his studies and receiving a licence to function as a priest in the Apostolic Johannite Church. Father Brenden was already validly ordained in another jurisdiction when he joined the AJC, but we insist that all clergy complete a minimum course of study to ensure that all our priests meet the same standards of theological and pastoral education.
Father Brenden received his licence late in 2021 and we appointed him as rector of Saint Teresa’s then, but one step remained…
The congregation included the regular folks of Saint Teresa’s who have been gathering faithfully for over a decade for study and prayer, as well as a few new folks who took the opportunity to visit to see what an AJC service was like. We were also blessed to receive a visit from the Right Reverend David Jones from the The Inclusive Sacramental Church of Christ and his wife, Vicki. Bishop David took the photos you’re seeing in this post.
Before we started the service proper, I consecrated Father Brenden’s chalice and paten – the vessels we use for the Eucharist – with chrism oil. This short ritual anoints the vessels for sacred use and they must not be used for mundane purposes or handled casually once this is done.
During the service, Father Brenden assisted me as my deacon and read the gospel. We consecrated the bread the wine together.
Once everyone had shared in communion, we had one last task. All clergy in the AJC are bound by vows into a hierarchical system of support and supervision, regulated by our system of canon law. Had Father Brenden been ordained in the AJC, the final step in his ordination would have been the moment when he vows to obey his bishop “in matters canonical”. That means – in matters relating to the governance and functioning of the church. It doesn’t mean the bishop gets to advise you on investments or tell you who to marry or what to think!
So, right at the end of the service, Father Brenden knelt before me and, with his hands between mine, made his vow. That done, I gave him my blessing on his ministry as a priest.
With the service concluded, our whole crew wandered down the street to The Burrow in West End for a long, beer-enriched lunch and (from what I could overhear) many conversations about spirituality, meditation, life and a lot of jokes.
It was a fun, warm day – as every visit I make to St Teresa’s is. People drove from up to three or four hours away to come together for this service and I think that helped it feel like a deeply special event.
I pray upon the people of Saint Teresa of Avila and their visitors every blessing and all good fortune and upon Father Brenden especially my deepest wish for a rich and long ministry as a priest.