Induction and Installation of Rev Amanda Digman

Installation and Induction of the Reverend Amanda Digman on 15th September 2021

The Revd Amanda Digman was installed and inducted as Rector of St James the Great, Birstall and Our Lady & St. Nicholas, Wanlip in St James’ Church on the evening of the 15th September 2021. A large congregation had assembled to support her on this important occasion. Members of Amanda’s family and friends from her previous parishes were in the congregation, together with members of our own parish churches and our local community.

The service began with Timothy Dudley-Smith’s rousing hymn ‘Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord’. An informal welcome from the Bishop of Leicester led into a prayer that we might all hear the call of Christ the King and follow in his service. The collect that followed held before God all his servants. We prayed that each one of us in our vocation and ministry might serve the Lord in holiness and truth, to the glory of his name.

Amanda was presented to the Bishop and the congregation by a member of the churches in which she had previously ministered. Then the Bishop asked everyone ‘Will all of you who are gathered here support and encourage Amanda in this new ministry and in the years to come?’ There was a rousing cry of ‘We will’ from the congregation.

The readings were interesting! The visit of the Queen of Sheba in order to ‘test Solomon with hard questions’ (1 Kings 10:1-10,23-25) and an account of St Paul, on one of his missionary journeys, spending three Sabbaths reasoning with the members of one synagogue, saying that the Jesus he proclaimed to them was the Messiah. They reacted with resistance and rioting. (Acts 17:1-5). In his sermon Bishop Martyn reflected on journeys and destinations. He spoke of ‘wrong’ paths, of the temptation for priests to see themselves as ‘rescuers,’ and for church members to expect their new priest to ’rescue’ them.

Not so’, said the Bishop. The primary role of the clergy is to point to Jesus by their own lives, and, as Christ’s messengers, to encourage the members of the churches they serve to do the same. That might mean saying unpopular things. Clergy are called to ‘speak the truth in love’ whatever the personal consequences, and, with their congregations, bring healing and hope to all in their parishes.

After his sermon, Bishop Martyn invited Amanda to renew her ordination vows. She therefore made the ‘Declaration of Assent’ and took the ‘Oaths of Allegiance and Canonical Obedience’. Then Bishop Martyn invited us all to pray for our local church, our new minister, our churchwardens, all those involved in local leadership and for those ministers already at work in the benefice. All of which we duly did. The bishop prayed that God would give Amanda grace and power to fulfil her ministry among us.

The congregation sat, the new minister knelt and Bishop Martyn read the ‘legal document’, saying to Amanda, ‘Receive this cure of souls which is both mine and yours, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ He blessed her and asked her to work with the people of God in this place, seeking with them to grow God’s kingdom. Bishop Martyn then asked the other members of the ministry team and the people of God in our parishes to support Amanda, as we all worked together to grow in faithful discipleship and in witness to the Gospel.

Amanda was next presented with seven signs of Christian ministry.

Archdeacon Richard gave her the key to the church, inviting her to work with the people of Birstall and Wanlip to make our churches welcoming places, with doors wide enough for all to enter. Wardens Debbie Shephard and John Borrajo then opened wide the church doors. We all said ‘Come all who are heavy laden, and Christ will give you rest. You are welcome here.’

Kieran and Naomi Follows presented Amanda with the water of baptism, inviting her to ‘be among us in this ministry of transformation and rebirth, adding to our number those whom God is calling.’ We all responded ‘Amen. In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.’

Julie Ward presented Amanda with a prayer book: ‘Amanda, we look to you to lead those committed to your care, so that, in word and sacrament, we may be renewed in our life together. Receive this book and be among us as a person of prayer.’

Thresa Harding and Lesley Walton presented bread and wine saying Amanda, it is the parish priest’s privilege and duty to preside regularly at the Holy Communion of Christ's Body and Blood. Receive this bread and wine, and be among us to proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.’

Revd Kerry Emmett and Sarah Borrajo presented the oil of healing. ‘Amanda, hold before us the anointing of the Holy Spirit for wholeness of life.’

A Bible was given by Doreen Wilson and Gill Pope. ‘Amanda, hold before us the story of God’s love and mercy. Receive this Bible, and be among us as a preacher of the Word of God, and teacher of the faith.’

Finally Bishop Martyn said ‘Amanda, let all these be signs of the ministry which is both mine and yours and shared by all the people of God.’ We all responded ‘Amen. May we find joy together in the service of Christ.’

Archdeacon Richard then installed Amanda in her ‘designated seat.’ Bishop Martyn said ‘Here is your new minister, duly installed. Greet her warmly.’ Which we all did. Representatives of our community were then invited by the Area Dean to welcome Amanda. Amanda then led us in our prayers of intercession. Finally the Bishop blessed us all. We all sang ‘Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart’ while Amanda led the Bishop, Archdeacon and our Churchwardens to the door of the church. Our new Rector read the Dismissal Gospel, threw the doors of the church wide open and said ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord’. To which we all responded ‘In the name of Christ. Amen’. We then all duly made our way to the back of the church where church members had generously provided a feast for everyone. It was a very happy occasion which we will long remember.                                                                                                                                                                                                Canon Anne



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