[Chronicle, July 24, 2020] On Saturday, July 11, 2020, Stephen Bruce McPeek was ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests at the Church of St. Augustine of Canterbury in Wiesbaden, Germany.
A long time member of St. James' Episcopal Church on the Big Island, Steve and his family moved to Germany shortly after his ordination to the diaconate last year, and has been serving as a Curate at The Church of St. Augustine of Canterbury in Wiesbaden. The pandemic put a wrench in plans for many who were looking forward to attending this special day, including Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick who was to ordain him in person. Through technology, the Bishop was still able to preach virtually, and family and friends watched the service live streamed on the St. Augustine Facebook page. Also participating online were his presenters from St. James' on the Big Island: The Rev. David Stout, the Rev. Linda Lundgren, and Wilma Oshiro. The Rev. John Hau'oli Tomoso on Maui took part in the service with readings in Hawaiian. A beautiful acapella rendition of the Doxology was sung in Hawaiian by Steve's daughter Mindy and her friend Maile.
Steve is married to the Rev. Vincent McTighe, and together they are raising 8-year old Alexis. In the past, Steve served as a missionary in Germany for 15 years, and is fluent in German. The opportunity to serve at St. Augustine's was a perfect fit, and the two Bishops, the Rt. Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick and the Rt. Rev. Mark Edington, worked out the details for Steve's curacy and ordination.
Below is the full video of the service that was captured on Zoom and a slideshow of beautiful photos taken by Elisabeth Pickersgill. Further down, we share a reflection by the Rev. Stephen McPeek, who shares his profound gratitude to everyone who helped him on this journey and made this day possible. There is also a video clip of the Doxology sung by his daughter, and pictures of the special handmade gifts that were shared with those in attendance.
Congratulations The Rev. Stephen Bruce McPeek!
The following is a reflection by the Rev. Stephen McPeek:
July 11, 2020 was a special day indeed. Covid-19 changed the original vision of the ordination which would have included the presence of Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick from the Diocese of Hawai'i, as well as my parents, a few of my children, and some of my best friends from Europe and the US. It would have also included our beloved maile and flower lei that those coming from Hawai'i would have carried with them. When it became clear that things would be different, I tried to focus on the essential elements of the ordination – the consecration of my life to God and to the service of God’s people and the world. I was just thankful that a day had been set and that Bishop Mark Edington of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe was willing to ordain me on behalf of the Diocese of Hawai'i.
When I walked into St. Augustine of Canterbury Church in Wiesbaden for the 2:00 pm rehearsal, I was stunned. Two beautiful tropical flower arrangements graced the altar, and a corner at the front of the sanctuary was adorned with a picture of Fr. Damien and Queen Lili'uokalani. Seeing this evoked such strong emotions in me – firstly because of the link to home, and secondly because my friends in Wiesbaden had gone to great lengths to make this day special for me.
Through the tireless efforts of the rector of St. Augustine, the Rev. Chris Easthill, and the Senior Warden, Deborah Cole, the technological feat of bringing in so many from other parts of the world was realized. Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick from Hawaii preached, three presenters from Hawai'i – The Rev. David Stout, the Rev. Linda Lundgren, and Wilma Oshiro, joined the Rev. Chris Easthill, Fleur Donecker, and John Adam from Wiesbaden to present me for ordination. The Rev. Hau'oli John Tomoso chanted part of the Litany for Ordinations and read the Gospel in Hawaiian. My daughter, Mindy, and her friend Maile offered a beautiful Hawaiian rendition of the Doxology. My parents, children, best friends, and many others joined in worship. Bishop Mark Edington officiated and ordained me in a very meaningful liturgical ceremony together with the Rev. Chris Easthill and the Rev. Mark Lee.
In addition to many from St. Augustine of Canterbury and from Wiesbaden, friends from past chapters of my life, from other parts of Germany traveled to be with us.
Vinny, Alexis, and I painted 61 rocks and decorated them with the words used in Bishop Bob’s sermon – Mana, Malama, Pono, and Aloha, and gave one to each person in attendance. The evening ended with a simple outdoor reception. It was a day full of rich blessings and memories, interwoven with English, German, and Hawaiian elements.
My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all who have supported me on this journey – my home parish of St. James and St. Columba and my initial discernment committee; Bishop Bob and the Diocese of Hawai'i; my teachers and classmates at Waiolaihui'ia; my seminary teachers, advisors, and supervisors at the Seminary of the Southwest; the dear people of my field ed parish, All Saints Church in Austin, Texas; the dear people of St. Augustine of Canterbury in Wiesbaden, Germany; and Bishop Mark and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe; and my dear family – my parents, my spouse, and my children, for their undying support and prayers. Lastly, I would like to express my thanks to my mother in heaven who prayed for many years of my life that I would be a priest.
Thank you for all of the prayers and support, and for all of the wonderful gifts!
And now let the work begin! For the time being, I will remain as curate at St. Augustine of Canterbury in Wiesbaden under the watchful eye of the Rev. Chris Easthill.