The Rev’d Gail Bernthal giving her first priestly blessing
“Rejoice for God has called us from darkness into light” was the opening line of the first hymn for the Ordination of Gail Bernthal to the priesthood. This hymn by the Rev’d Elizabeth J Smith of Australia captured the essence of the calling of the whole church into being with God in the world – laity, bishops, priests, and deacons.
In his sermon, Bp. David reinforced this calling to all the orders of the church, but especially to the clergy. “If you think you have it all figured out”, he said, “it may be time to pack it in.” Bp. David also gave reference to those who have gone before. While he referred to St. George, widely celebrated on April 23, he also referenced Toyohiko Kagawa who is also celebrated on that day. As described in Holy Women, Holy Men, Kagawa was a Japanese evangelist and social activist who spent his life seeking to apply Christ’s teachings simply among the poor and needy. Bp. David noted that clergy and laity alike are called to this service to those around us.
Bp. David also noted ordination of women to the priesthood is still new in this diocese. . The Rev’d Suzy Ward of Visalia was ordained to the priesthood, having been a deacon for many years. The Rev’d Anne Smith was ordained within the diocese and served in Stockton and Lodi. There are several other women serving as priests and deacons in the diocese. The bishop is pictured with women clergy of the diocese.
The Rev’d Gail Bernthal will continue to serve at Church of the Saviour in Hanford, where she served as a transitional deacon.