CAPTION: A rehearsal for the ordination services is filmed in preparation to livestream them for the first time

Exeter Cathedral ordination services to be livestreamed for first time

Posted: 9th September, 2020

Sixteen new curates are being ordained into the Church of England this weekend in a series of Covid-secure services at Exeter Cathedral led by the Bishops of Exeter, Plymouth and Crediton.

Instead of one big service there will be four separate ceremonies with four people being ordained at each one.

As with weddings and funerals, there will be just 30 people present at each service instead of the usual 2000 who would attend normally.

The services are being livestreamed for the first time by the Diocese of Exeter Communications team to allow friends and family to watch from home.

An ordination service is the occasion when someone who has been training to become a priest officially becomes a church minister.

A newly ordained person is allowed to wear a dog collar and conduct weddings and funerals and eventually lead a church.

Vanessa Pestridge says preparing for her ordination feels a bit like getting ready to get married

Vanessa Pestridge is a former teacher who has been training for ordination at St Mellitus theological college in Plymouth, she said “It’s been a bit of an adjustment because initially you think it’s going to be this big thing and it’s not going to be any of that, but I plan to be there and God will be there so I guess that’s kind of all I need.

“It’s going to be that line in the sand moment. It feels a bit like when you get married and you have that day approaching. It’s actually about being married and not just the day.

“I can’t wait to make the ordination promises in front of my family and God but it’s about starting the next part of my journey.”

Jon Devereux, who will be starting a new church community in the Ford area of Plymouth once he is ordained, said he was glad friends as far away as the United States would be able to watch his ordination online.

Jon Devereux is interviewed by a BBC film crew about his ordination

“I am looking forward to getting ordained and excited to get cracking in my new role but it is a strange time to be doing it, wearing a face mask and with only 30 people present.

“There are people I hoped would be there but can’t be.”

The Reverend John Fisher, the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, who oversees those training for ordination, said “Every part of life has been affected by Covid-19 and the ordinations are no different.

“Everything feels changed but the candidates will still be ordained and embark on their new vocations in public ministry. For me this feels really significant, for them, their families and the wider church in which they will serve.

“Landing in their new parishes at such a challenging time will be hard.

“We pray that the candidates, their training vicars and their communities will have grace, imagination and patience to help everyone flourish in these difficult times.”

You can view the ordination services and download an order of service here.

Follow this link to hear Vanessa’s story.