The Archbishop of York will ordain eleven people to the Priesthood today (Sunday 3rd June 2012) at 10am in York Minster.
Seven men and four women from across the Diocese of York will be ordained Priest, including Andy Grant from Boston Spa, who previously served in HM Forces in 1st Battalion The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW).
A week after his ordination, Andy Grant will be going back to Gorazde, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with twelve other ex-RGBW soldiers to re-erect two memorials to four colleagues who died there in September 1994. Andy, along with the Battalion’s Padre, the Revd Patrick Irwin, will bless the memorials to Privates Ben Hinton, Philip Armstrong, Martin Dowdell, and Chris Turner.
Andy Grant said:
“I’ve been serving four parish churches within the Benefice of Bramham, Boston Spa, as a Deacon for a year, and this first year has been a real privilege, and great learning experience. During this period that I was made aware of a plan by Colonel Ian Harris (whom I served under when in the Army) to return to Bosnia with a team to re-dedicate some memorial stones in honour of colleagues who died there back in 1994. The plan has since flourished, and the trip is now a reality, and it is a great honour for me to be invited along to lead the service of re-dedication as a minister.
“It is hard to say beforehand what impact this trip may have upon me, as I was injured in one of the incidents where our colleagues were killed, but it is a unique opportunity to restore these memorial stones to their rightful place, to honour the memory of fallen friends, and one which I would not want to miss. The accident itself was extremely traumatic and I recall God's protecting hand on my life that day in a very real way. What is difficult to understand or explain is why those other lads were not saved - this will remain for me always an unanswerable question in this lifetime.”
“I experienced God's call upon my life many years ago and it was unexpected, uninvited, exciting and frightening. I can only describe it as having the usual flow and pattern of my life greatly and wonderfully interrupted; being drawn by God's unseen love and power onto the road of vocation as part of my continuing journey of faith.”
Archbishop Sentamu said:
“I have met with all the candidates prior to their ordination and they are a fantastic group of people, each with special gifts to offer in their ministry. I have been deeply gladdened by their passion for Jesus and their desire to be a force for good in our communities. This is such a joyous occasion for all, the ordinands, their friends and families and the parishes and communities they serve. The path to finding God and living for Him is different for each person. For some there is a natural growing to their vocation and for some it is really kick started by an unexpected set of events. These Ordinands come from all walks of life, but are united in their desire to make the love of God known and we pray for them as they begin this exciting new chapter in their ministry”