Last December 1, the 20th Anniversary Service of the Ordination of Women as Priests was held at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Diocese of Tokyo. Usually, it is rare that women priests come together all at once, so it was quite spectacular. I was again reminded of how many women priests we have in Nippon Sei Ko Kai and felt reassured.
The Reverend Canon Terrie Robinson from the Church of England (Director for Women in Church and Society at the Anglican Communion Office) gave the sermon and spoke of several points. The ones which especially struck me were …
“We (women) have come from a place of exile, a place where we were not permitted to serve God fully as witnesses…but, this will help us to understand the individual who is classed by others as an ‘outsider’. This will help us to stand in solidarity with any community in our world that is pushed to the margins,” “As Christians, we know that…transformation requires a willingness…to let go of old certainties so that we are able to grasp what is new and full of possibility,” “In all our Churches around the Anglican Communion, changes in practice, including steps towards women’s ordination, have often been accompanied by anxiety and fear. Sometimes we need to let go of old ways of thinking and behaving…so that we are free to discover and grasp the truth that shall make us free.” And lastly the Reverend’s closing words were, “Do not fear! Dare to sing a new song to the Lord!”
I believe that everyone is invited to do service. Fear comes with change. However, when you believe in God and take in that change with prayers and courage, the grace of God full of blessing will be given. I think the ordination of women priests teaches us this fact.
The Rt Revd Peter Ichiro Shibusawa