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Petertide ordinations: Drama of the liturgy

10 July 2015

IT WAS while watching Angels and Demons, the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, that James Pacey sensed the call to ordination. “It showed some priests going down to conclave, and I very clearly heard God saying: ‘You see the priests? That is what you are called to do and to be.’”

He had spent the years before this as a theatre director, setting up 2B Theatre, and working at the Nottingham Playhouse.

“Theatre is all about story and narrative, and I am very passionate about combining faith, Christ’s story, and people’s own stories,” he says. “Scripture is the greatest drama, a true story.”

Having worked with students and children, he believes that he will bring his experience of making stories accessible to his ordained life: “Part of the call is to communicate that story in such a way that people understand it.”

He has put on productions of Passion plays in the past, and believes that “there is something about telling of the story through drama that communicates in a way that nothing else can do. I’m a big believer in seeing liturgy as drama: not in a ‘jazz hands’ kind of way, but in the sense that the best theatre is absolute truth.

“We see a true person, a real character, and that is what liturgy and worship should be: absolute truth. If the congregation is caught up in that drama, the job is done: they are part of God’s story.”

James Pacey was ordained deacon in Southwell Minster on 5 July. He is serving his title in the Hucknall Torkard Team.

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