On Saturday 22nd August Longcauseway church hosted the service of the ordination and induction of Janine Atkinson to SPACE.
The presiding minister was Revd Kevin Watson, the Yorkshire Synod moderator and Revd Mark Robinson welcomed all to the event.
The order of service proceeded seamlessly with passages of scripture, and the constitution of the synod. Hymns and prayers followed with the congregation fully engaged.
The sermon was delivered by Revd David Grosch-Miller, moderator of General Assembly who, following the reading from Jeremiah, assured Janine several times that “You can do this”. He said that as Christians we tend to make excuses as we can feel inadequate, but we must all be ready to listen to Gods’ call. He reminded Janine that she had responsibilities as a wife and mother as well as a minister, and that we all need to balance relationships with family, friends and God, as well as our own well-being. In our churches we are good at patching things, but Jesus told his disciples to stop patching nets and follow Him. David challenged us, and asked whether WE were ready to take risks and be part of an adventure; that we needed to be restless, wanting a better future, trusting God to guide us. We cannot be satisfied with where we are at this moment in time. Although it’s not easy being a Christian in this country today with the poverty, suffering, distribution of wealth, migration and relationships with other faiths. The churches have taken a pounding in the past few years but times will change. The Holy Spirit will revive. We are ‘the people of the resurrection’ and must share the passion that God wants us to show to the world.
John Rider, interim moderator for SPACE presented Janine for ordination and induction, following which she spoke of her own journey of faith. She originally resisted the call in 2009, stating that she would absolutely NOT candidate for ministry. However God called again and in 2010 Janine finally gave in. She was grateful for the support of husband Mike and son Nat, and gave a full account of her statement of faith. Sally Speight, SPACE secretary responded with the journey SPACE had made and how, after Janine’s service where she ‘preached with a view’, the decision to call her was almost unanimous.
Affirmations were made, and after a further hymn Kevin declared that Janine Atkinson was now ‘certified’, offering his gift of a book called ‘How To Be A Bad Christian And A Good Human Being’. Janine received other gifts symbolising the Christian faith, concluding with a party popper…..the whole of the congregation popping a great AMEN. The dismissal and blessing was said by the Reverend Janine Atkinson.
In the upstairs room of Longcauseway church was then a gathering of SPACE members, friends, ministers, dignitaries, family, friends and colleagues of Janine all eager to express their delight at this joyous occasion.
The people who took part in the service are too numerous to mention, as are the people who helped prepare the food and the organisers of all aspects of the day. Thanks to all who made this a wonderful and uplifting day.
On the Sunday, URC Heckmondwike was the venue for Janine’s first service in SPACE as minister. With a packed church, Janine stated she was glad to be back in Yorkshire where they ‘call a spade a spade!’ This formed the basis for her reflections as she spoke of different elements of our journeys through life and faith. The involvement of all other SPACE ministers made it a lovely first service. Refreshments and fellowship followed which concluded what was a truly fulfilling unity of all SPACE churches.
Yours in Christ – Janet Virr, URC Heckmondwike