by Lorette Palm
Parish of Leask and Shellbrook
On March 18th at 7 pm, the Reverend Stephen Ronald Harnish was ordained to the holy order of Priest by the Right Reverend Michael Hawkins, Bishop of Saskatchewan.
The evening service opened with the hymn The Church's One Foundation, with accompaniment from organist Margaret Zulkoskey. The procession was led by crucifer Ryan Harnish, server Liam Harnish, (sons of the ordinand) parish choir (members of the parish family of Leask and Shellbrook) clergy, the ordinand, the Bishop and the chaplain to the bishop, Debbie Topping. The Reverend Dr David Mercer (Diocese of Fredericton) gave the homily. In Father Mercer’s homily he reminded the congregation that, by our baptism, we are made members of Christ and, as such, are children of God and inheritors of the kingdom of Heaven. He said by this baptism, we become Corpus Christi – the Body of Christ and as the body of Christ, we are called upon by God to love as Christ has loved us. Father Mercer told us that this love is only found in the life of Christ, clearly shown in the Cross, and he reminded us that our Lord said that this love will be the ground of our judgement. For the Priest, he reminded Stephen, as is the same for all priests, that they will be accountable before God on the Day of Judgement. This judgement involves loving one another and the world, with the same love Christ has for us and asking if he [Stephen] has fed the Sheep of Christ. As the people of God, we were asked by the homilist to pray for faithfulness in this task, as Stephen takes the vows of Priest outlined in the prayer book.
The Dean of Saint Alban’s Cathedral, the Very Reverend Kenneth Davis, presented candidate before Bishop Hawkins. The Litany was sung by The Reverend Canon Don Skinner. The Epistle was read by Roberta Caspell, All Saints, Leask. The Gospel was read by the Reverend Joanne Beacon. The ordinand was examined by the Bishop, where the Reverend Harnish made a solemn and heartfelt commitment to serve God and His sheep as Priest. The ordination continued with the clergy of the Diocese and those visiting, along with the Bishop, laying their hands upon the candidate, the Bishop saying to receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work as a priest in the Church of God. The Holy Communion was celebrated by Bishop Hawkins. Following the Eucharist, Father Stephen Harnish was inducted as Rector of Leask and Shellbrook. The Regional Dean, the Reverend Rob Stringer, wardens from the points of All Saints, Christ Church, Saint Andrew and Saint Luke escorted their Rector to his stall and gave keys to the churches in the parish. The processional hymn, Saint Patrick’s Breastplate, filled the church of Saint Andrews.
The evening began with a rehearsal and dinner following, provided by All Saints and Saint Luke congregations for the clergy and those taking part in the ordination. A prelude of music was offered by Bev Ledding, organist, and David Palm, violinist, both parishioners of Saint Andrews. A reception and time for fellowship following the service was held in the lower hall, where members of Saint Andrew and Christ Church provided dainties and refreshments.
Father Stephen comes to us from Nova Scotia with his wife, Cathy, and their three children: Ryan, Emily and Liam. They live in the Rectory in Canwood. Stephen has been serving as our Deacon since September. We receive the Harnish family with joy and thankfulness. We have been blessed spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Father Stephen has indeed been feeding His sheep faithfully with grace, humour and the Word of God.