The pomp, ceremony and tradition of the enrolment of Dannevirke St John cadets at Dannevirke's Anglican Church was a special occasion for the organisation.

"This was the first time in three years we've held a ceremony like this here in Dannevirke and we're all very proud," Delwyn Walker, the divisional manager for St John's youth programme, said.

The St John youth programme supports young people in a positive way, Ashley Griffiths, the Wairarapa St John district youth manager, said.

St John Penguins recite their promise. Sophie Anderson (left) Cohen Stephenson, Ashley Griffiths (Wairarapa St John district youth manager), Peter Seerden, Keire Hetariki-Pinfold, Cameron Anderson.
St John Penguins recite their promise. Sophie Anderson (left) Cohen Stephenson, Ashley Griffiths (Wairarapa St John district youth manager), Peter Seerden, Keire Hetariki-Pinfold, Cameron Anderson.

"This is about recognising the commitment these young people have made to St John and the ceremony follows century-old origins, with the order of St John going back 900 years to a hospital in Jerusalem."

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Reverend David van Oeveren, a chaplain for the Order of St John and a regional Dean of the Waiapu Diocese, reminded the cadets of the importance of the promises they'd made in the ceremony, in front of family, friends and community and church leaders.

"You've made some big promises and as you go into the future, this will remain a special and important day for all of you."

Following the processional of the clergy and the colour party presentation, the cadets about to be enrolled paraded through a guard of honour in pairs down the aisle of St John's Anglican Church, pausing at each floor marker, to announce each of the four arms, prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude and eight points of the cross, humility, sympathy, gentleness, truth, compassion, unselfishness, peace and endurance.

Cross-bearer Andreas Jackson leads Reverend Jo Crosse and St John officials into the church.
Cross-bearer Andreas Jackson leads Reverend Jo Crosse and St John officials into the church.

The Bishop of Waiapu, Andrew Hedge, urged the cadets to look out for adults in the community who could model the words they had just recited.

"Look towards those who are older and maybe those of the same age as you, so you can be a role model living a life of service," he said.

Dannevirke St John has 38 cadets, the youngest being the five 6- to 8-year-old Penguins, with cadets up to 18 enrolled.