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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
Gathering at the newly-extended St. Michael's Church.
Photo No. : P050909-1
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The Mothers' Union processes.
Photo No. : P050909-2
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Ordinations at Ambilobe
Photo No. : P050909-3
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St. Michael’s Extensions Inaugurated in Big Celebration
September 9, 2005

Priests and deacons ordained; deaconess and evangelist-pastors commissioned

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] The long-expected inauguration of St Michael's Church extension in Ambilobe town on Sunday 4th September 2005 in Northern Madagascar took place with extravagant joy and celebration.

The verse used on the inauguration plaque is from Psalm 27 verse 1: “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation Whom shall fear?”

Even with a torn Achilles tendon needing immediate surgery, Bishop Roger Chung struggled through the long awaited ordination service and postponed his medical urgency to the following week. The Church was ready to host the ordination service of seven deacons and four priests.

Three evangelist-pastors and a deaconess were also commissioned during the explosive “mission and evangelism” mood of the yet still solemn service. The masons still have to complete the church porch, which is to be covered, but the major work was finished. “We will be needing some more funds to complete the last remaining work,” said Bishop Chung, “and that will give the finished Church its real final touch.

The event started at 7am with the whole congregation processing with rhythmic Malagasy hymns in the streets of the predominantly Islamic town. The service started at 8am with the unveiling of the extension tablet memento and also a memorial tablet from friends in Hull, UK, who remember the episcopacy of the late Bishop K Benzies, who is buried in the churchyard. “Bishop Benzies planted a fertile mission in the Antakarana Region and I continue in his footsteps,” said Bishop Chung.

The guest preacher at the Ordination service was the Hon Canon Rev David Cohen, former missionary to Mauritius. He preached a powerful and thought-provoking message of servants of God being jars of clay in the ministry, channelling “the immense treasures” of grace of our Loving God.

The four priests to receive ordination from Bishop Chung had completed their theolological studies in July 2005 at St Paul's College, Ambohatoranana, the Provincial Theological College. They are the Revs TOMBOANTANANA ROLAND, JEAN MODESTE, NARIKELY JOSET and ARSENE ANDRIAMAHAZO.

The seven newly ordained deacons are non-stipendiary clergy who are gearing for intense mission and evangelisation work in the Diocese of Antsiranana.

Friends and relatives of the ordinands had to walk four days across the rain forest and mountains of the Antakarana to attend the service. Three fatted bulls were slaughtered for the 2000 strong congregation festivities. This event could not happen without meat being consumed – tradition was upheld.

On Saturday the 3rd September, Mrs Kathi Cohen gave a training session to Mothers’ Union members who came from all four corners of the Diocese to attend the service.

The Vice President of the Faritany of Antsiranana, His Excellency Mr Djaozara, was also present, with the Mayor and Government officials of Ambilobe, honouring the addition of Clergy to the Diocese of Antsiranana in North Madagascar.

May the Holy Spirit empower the new ministers for service in Madagascar and extend God's Kingdom... to His greater glory. Amen.