Ordination | The Day Itself
Give him the eyes that pity men,
The tones that stir and thrill,
The broken heart to heal again,
To brace the faltering will;
A vision of the Eternal Face,
Where others’ sight grows dim:
A prophet truthing it in grace,
The Christ, ordain in him!
William Channing Gannett
The surreal experience of the ceremony, its profound impact on my soul, and the following heartwarming celebration will forever be etched in my memory. My journey continues, now enriched with the lessons learned on that momentous day, and I am ready to embrace whatever comes next with faith and gratitude.
I faced an extraordinary challenge on the day of my ordination. Despite doctor’s orders and physical limitations, anticipating the most important day of my life kept me focused and driven. Through unwavering support from loved ones, friends, and fellow clergymen, I embarked on a surreal journey that left a lasting impact, shaping my spiritual path and teaching me the true meaning of perseverance.
Despite the doctor’s order to not bend, twist or lift and the reality that standing and sitting for extended periods were also both out of the question, there was some talk of getting me wheeled into the chapel on a gurney for the act of ordination.
Still, that option was swiftly ruled out since it did not really, in my mind, amount to ‘participating’ in what was to be one of the most, if not the most important, days of my life so far, with only really two other contenders being of equal importance to me.
With my body restrained by multiple back braces, I defied the odds and prepared for my ordination. The Order of Service, thoughtfully typeset and printed by a local firm, remained faithful to tradition and was generally the same, without the Deacons parts, as was used last year. Invitations were sent out well in advance, creating an online presence through platforms like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitch, allowing friends and family from the UK to be virtually present.
Everything was now in place.
A Supportive Circle
The day before the momentous occasion, I had met with our Bishop, our Chaplain, Fr. David Price and my friend and colleague, Fr. Zach Storey, to go through the Order of Service to try to prevent any ‘faffing shambles’.
Suzi drove me to the chapel. We arrived a couple of hours early to help prepare, but my contribution was limited to things I could do standing up.
Friends and family in the UK were poised to attend online with streams on Facebook, Youtube and Twitch. I was heartwarming to know that they were with me.
I was honoured that Fr. Tom McCusker could be there, although the access lift was not working, meaning he had to climb the infernal stairs. A few other guests from other Anglo-Catholic traditions attended, including:
- Archbishop Ron Langham – Ecumenical Catholic Church of Australia
- Bishop Iain Baxter – All Saints, Chaing Mai
- Rev Dave Hiney – Bangkok Port Chaplain, Mission To Seafarers
I received a very encouraging message too from Wattana Jaengyim, Deacon at the Independent Catholic Church, Mission of Thailand, although he could not join us on the day.
The Ordination Ceremony
The day of the ordination arrived, and I found myself both a participant and observer in something like a waking dream. The impact of the ritual was profound, as waves of emotions washed over me, reflecting the intended purpose of this significant moment. Standing and kneeling throughout the ceremony, I relied on pain and muscle relaxant medications to mitigate sharp discomfort. Despite these challenges, the unwavering support and encouragement from those present made the day unforgettable.
A Heartwarming Celebration
Following the ceremony, our Church Warden, Liz Shepherd, thoughtfully arranged a delightful spread of food and drinks for the celebration. Surrounded by loved ones and friends, I relished the joyous atmosphere and stayed longer than I should have, savouring every moment of this heartwarming gathering.
Reflections and Gratitude
As the day concluded and I lay in the car for the journey home, I reflected on my incredible journey. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and thanked God for the blessings and good fortune that led me to this point. It was a day filled with love, support, and spiritual significance, reaffirming my calling and purpose.
The road to my ordination was not without its challenges, but it served as a testament to the power of determination and the unwavering support of the people around me. The surreal experience of the ceremony, its profound impact on my soul, and the heartwarming celebration that followed will forever be etched in my memory. My journey continues, now enriched with the lessons learned on that momentous day, and I am ready to embrace whatever comes next with faith and gratitude.
Here are some other posts folks have read:
About Rev Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell
Rev. Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell, an Englishman deeply connected to Thailand, was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on 28th May 2023.
In addition to his religious journey, he has worked as an online English teacher and pursued a career as an artist. He has also operated a tour desk business with his wife within international brand hotels.
Lloyd has extensive experience in the voluntary sector, specifically in addressing homelessness and social welfare.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and embraces opportunities to meet new people, see new places, explore cultural similarities, and celebrate differences.