Clergy from across the diocese gathered at Wakefield Cathedral on Maundy Thursday (March 29th) to renew their ordination vows at the Chrism Eucharist for the diocese. The traditional service takes place at one of the three cathedrals of the Diocese of Leeds each year and is an opportunity to receive Chrism oils for use in healing in the coming year.
The theme for the service was set by Wakefield Cathedral Chapter Member, Prof Claire Honess reading from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians with his analogy of a treasure in a clay pot "struck down, but not destroyed”. It was a theme taken up by the preacher, Diocesan Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines who asked: is this the vision that fires us in the Diocese of Leeds or do we only see as far as the contradictions and frustrations that life always throws us?
“Do we focus on things that diminish us, do we feed the complaints and criticisms, or do we hear another voice that will not let us go?
“If our congregations are to grow, we as ministers, must be bearers of hope, articulators of grace, heralders of newness and nourishers of feeling.
“And if we are to minister, we need to allow ourselves to first be ministered to by our betrayers and enemies .
“Are we up for this?” Bishop Nick asked, thanking those gathered there for the work that they do and reminded them that people see the clay jars – but not quite the treasure within.
Washing Feet, a Maundy Thursday tradition continues
On the streets of Leeds, clergy took the Maundy Thursday gospel of service onto the streets. The washing of feet is a tradition rooted in the Gospel narrative of the Lord's Supper then night before Jesus was crucified. In the Upper Room he washed his disciples feet, instructing them to wash one another's feet as a sign of service.
On the streets of Cross Green, Leeds, Parish Priest, Fr Darren Percival and Brother Fabian from the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield washed the feet of people they met.
“Never as a manager working in hospitality until being licensed to stipendiary ministry last September did I have the experience of servant-hood in my management career,” said Darren. “To get onto the streets of Cross Green and be amongst the people that I love and serve was a great privilege."
Washing Feet at Ripon Cathedral
At Ripon Cathedral the traditional Maundy Thursday Eucharist was accompanied by the washing of feet. Twelve people representing the congregation came to the front to have their feet washed following the example of Jesus.
The Choir of Ripon Cathedral accompanied the ceremony with singing.
Preaching at the moving service was the Bishop of Ripon, Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley who led a series of Holy Week meditations throughout the week at the Cathedral before preaching on Easter Sunday at a service broadcast live nationally on Premier Christian Radio.