The primary reason for my visit this trip was to participate in leading portions of a retreat for those to be ordained as pastors on Sunday (most as Deacons, some as Priests). This has been a singular honour, even as I note the anniversary of my own ordination today (December 10th) 16 years ago. It is also an extension of our ministry at Redeemer where we nurture, mentor and then send. I was surprised to find nearly 50 ordinands participating in the retreat, the result of dedicated and focused efforts to increase the number of clergy in the Shyira Diocese as new churches are being planted.
We all met at Sonrise School over a period of two-and-a-half days, where topics both theological and practical were covered, especially those things relevant to pastoral leadership. All had already completed diocesan-sponsored theological training, and some are headed for more work later. I taught a session on the Biblical Theology of Worship, and another on Clergy Self Care (with headings such as sabbath keeping, friendships, boundaries, etc). The second one generated quite a bit of discussion and I was really glad to have been able to include it, since its an area close to my own interests and something I have been sharing with pastors in the States (especially since we basically have to figure this one out on our own–seminaries don’t teach it). There are clear cultural differences, and some of those I was aware of, others were new, and I taught everything through an interpreter, so that added another layer of complication and necessary concentration. My two outstanding interpreters were Bishop-Elect Samuel Mugisha, and Canon Emmanuel, who leads the theological training program of the Diocese.
Tomorrow these will all be ordained in the Cathedral, and I’ll have the privilege of standing alongside them, even while celebrating my own anniversary and vocation as pastor. Thanks be to God!