Reflections on RADVO

Radical Vocation Conference 2018 - Photo Credit: Sonya Lawley

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Sep 26, 2018

By Orvin Lao

The Radical Vocation Conference has bolstered my excitement towards Anglican priesthood. It has further enriched my discernment towards priestly vocation and affirmed my convictions, desires, and hopes as I journey towards my call.

I was deeply encouraged to be among many like-minded people who gathered to explore the theme of priestly vocation. The plenary sessions highlighted few of the key aspects of priestly ministry: pastoral care, preaching, missions, and the sacraments. Then the breakout session I attended reflected on the prophetic, reconciliatory, ambassadorial, and public ministry of the priest within the parish, around the neighbourhood, and even within a dividing and bickering Church.

The highlights for me were the conversations and discussions with friends over delicious meals and during the evenings after the conference sessions. It was very good to be reacquainted with old friends from college and chat about their own ministries and family life. I also had the privilege of meeting new friends and connecting with other leaders and priests in the Episcopal Church. Making new friends from different cultural and ministry contexts for learning, for creating networks, and for mutual encouragement and fellowship is indispensable.

Photo Album of the RADVO Conference by Orvin Lao

The most impactful thing for me during the conference was to participate in the services of Evensong and Holy Eucharist. To worship Christ together and to partake in the sacrament with everyone was a highlight. Listening to Archbishop Justin Welby preach about priestly vocation from the evening lections was thrilling; he sounded a clarion call for those present to live with “radical excitement” as followers of Christ amidst a world of heightening confusion. One specific moment for me stood out during Holy Eucharist: the choral anthem of Isaiah 61 was being sung and I was moved to tears reflecting on what it means to enter the priestly vocation of Jesus Christ. I was reminded that one is not called into the priesthood because of one’s qualifications. One is first called by God who then equips the person.

Amidst the present and worsening turmoil and division of the Church, I am hopeful, challenged, and invigorated to pursue Jesus Christ in the thick of it all. It is especially for this time of confusion and ecclesial decline that we are called to stand firm, to hear and respond to Christ’s call for workers to go into the field, and to band together with many brothers and sisters in Jesus for the privilege and joy of ministry, no matter the cost. 

About the Author

Orvin Lao

Orvin Lao is a postulant in the Diocese of Toronto and is a recent graduate of Wycliffe College with his Master of Divinity Pioneer. He moved to Toronto in 2001 from his home city, Manila, Philippines, and currently lives in Markham. Besides his love of and aspiration for parish ministry, he gets busy with his wedding photography and his contract work doing construction and labour.   

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