Unpastoralised

Like a phoenix from the ashes, I will rise.

Loathing, disdain and vitriol threaded their way through the report, it was not pleasant reading.

I had been handed the report by the BAP Advisers by my DDO and read it in silence.  Its tone took me aback.  Never before had I read such a bitter report.  It was anything but constructive, instead it seemed intent on destroying me, my spirit and my hopes. Continue reading

The Land of Confusion

Stuck in a cul-de-sac with no reverse gear

Stuck in a cul-de-sac with no reverse gear

I could tell by her tone of voice that it wasn’t good news.

The call from my DDO came earlier than expected.  The Advisers at my BAP had not recommended me for ordination training.  I felt numb.

I couldn’t find many words to keep the conversation going for long.  There didn’t seem much point either when I was told that we wouldn’t find out why for almost a week.

The future that I had been preparing for had fell apart in an instant.  I had been preparing for rejection too but experiencing it is very different.  My emotions took the expected hit.  It felt like a light had gone out, like a door slammed in my face.  I knew that I would find it tough to hear such news, that I would be in a state of grief, but I hadn’t planned for my mind to be hit hard as well. Continue reading

Hazardous interpretations

We need to be watchful for any hazards on the path ahead.

We need to be watchful for any hazards on the path ahead.

The path of exploring ordination is a strange affair. On one hand you are very much on your own, the searching is down to you. On the other hand it can be a community affair. People join the journey for a while, sometimes only for the briefest of moments, others walk with you for a long time. Yet whilst they walk with you, the decision whether to turn right or left is down to you. Continue reading

Taking Stock – Part 2: The Vocations Chaplain Experience

Patiently waiting to move on

Patiently waiting to move on

In this the second of a two part post I am looking at my experience of meeting with a Vocations Chaplain, having looked at the preceding stages in Part 1.

In the Anglican Diocese I find myself living within those exploring ordination are asked to first meet with their vicar before meeting with a Vocations Chaplain if the vicar feels there is a reason to explore.

As with the vicar and those met at later stages, the Vocations Chaplain (different titles are used for such people, even within a single diocese) is tasked with the job of discerning whether God is indeed calling a person towards ordination. This may take several meetings but if a calling is sensed the person is passed onto a Diocesan Director of Ordinands, or DDO for short. The process continues along similar lines before a person meets with a local bishop and a Bishops Advisory Panel (often simply known as a BAP). Continue reading

Who is He?

Think of God, picture Him in your mind. What do you see? What do you feel? Do you know why?

The picture of God we carry with us is likely to have been formed by our own past, our experiences and how we have come to know God. The image of God we carry with ourselves may well be quite different from other people’s. My Vocations Chaplain has asked me to think the image I carry and about who God is to me.

I grew up an agnostic. I always felt that coincidence and chance alone could not explain the existence of the world. Yet I couldn’t accept a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis that says the world was created in 6 days, and not only because of the apparent conflict with the existence of dinosaurs. Then there was the Big Bang Theory, way before it moved from a hypothesis to a replacement for Friends – something can’t come from nothing so something must have existed before the Big Bang. Continue reading

Can I see clearly now?

Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Luke 9:44-46

Last week I met with a Vocations Chaplain as part of my exploration of whether God is calling me to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England.  In my previous post (“Who I am I today?“) I wrote of the challenge I felt to not pretend to be the person I thought the Vocations Chaplain would want to see, but to be true to myself.

During my meeting I came to the realisation that my life has had, in one respect at least, something in common with Jesus’s disciples.  Just as the true meaning of things Jesus said or did was kept from the disciples, it seems that I may have been prevented from seeing and understanding certain things until now.

Let me explain! Continue reading

Who am I today?

When a time comes that you, your personality and everything you say are under intense scrutiny do you show your true self or put a mask on and be someone else? If that person has the potential to alter the path you take in life do you try to be the person you think they will want to see, or do you trust that the right thing will happen when they see who you really are?

We’ve all been there, first dates, job interviews, important meetings, etc. We take extra care about the clothes we wear, we get there early, we are keen to impress. But in our nervousness to impress we can make mistakes and it can go horribly wrong. Continue reading

Planning ahead?

Do you like to know or plan what you are doing each day, week, month or even year? We can do that of course but how often have you planned something that didn’t happen? We all have ideas about what we would like to do but life has a habit of getting in the way.

The thing is plans are just that, plans. They are theoretical and aspiration. They may give us a sense of being in control and in charge. Plans can give us a sense of security but they can also bring disappointment – their resemblance to reality however can sometimes be rather tenuous! Continue reading