It is time to prepare for re-entry
There was a time when exploring ordination felt like being on an express train: things happened regularly and quickly. Each week there was something new, some new issue to wrestle with, some new emotional struggle to document. More recently it has felt like being on a canal boat or the International Space Station: slowly drifting along, detached from the goings on of life. The detachment has been somewhat comforting. Like astronauts left alone on the International Space Station I have been able to observe the fragility from afar, whilst similarly connected to it by the sporadic communication from the Ground Control that is the church. But the time has come to re-enter the world of ordination and face the fire that comes with it. Continue reading
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 Bishop’s report came as I was heading home from work. I was a passenger in more ways than one and leapt to the email like I had done with each incoming email throughout the day.
The opening complimentary paragraph passed me by as I went straight to the reason that I wasn’t recommended. It was frustratingly short, vague and confusing. Concerns had been expressed against some the selection criterion but the explanation was limited at best.
I didn’t recognise some of the person being described and there were things that were simply unfair. What was more painful though was the person I did recognise. The Advisers had not taken to me.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2
I’m worn out. I haven’t even got to the Bishops’ Advisory and I’m worn out.
I knew this was coming. It wasn’t a word from God, a message from the Holy Spirit. It was far more mundane than that. It was a mixture of circumstances and the compression of 6 months BAP preparation into 6 weeks.
After putting our house in market last week, in an equal act of faith and practicality, we had been overwhelmed by the response. We had put our house on the market previously and had 1 offer in 10 months. This time, admittedly with a different set of economic conditions, we had 4 offers in 4 days. The house was sold, subject to contract, in under a week.
Now if God isn’t part of our house sale I will eat my hat, and believe me when I say that I don’t like eating hats. Continue reading
Will my application be accepted?
The date is getting closer. So much to do, such little time. Or is there?
As I continue my preparations for attending a Bishops’ Advisory Panel (BAP) there I the list of things I want and need to do beforehand at times feels impossible to achieve. Yet I also feel a the sense of peace and excitement I feel as I pass through each day is palpable.
There isn’t just the BAP to prepare for, there is life away from it which continues regardless and needs time and attention. I have my day-job, my role as a school governor, a house to sell and of course my children and wife to attend to and spend time with. Such things keep me grounded and from becoming tunnel visioned and obsessed by all things ordination.
There is a reason for all this activity
The decision had been made and put into action. All that remained to cement the position and secure the place at a Bishops’ Advisory Panel in mid-May was a report on me by my sponsoring Diocese and DDO.
I am always intrigued by other people’s views about me. Even if they can be uncomfortable to hear they can be more accurate than my own. Seeing myself from other people’s perspectives helps me understand how I am understood, and how to change if I am not. This report on me by my DDO would be a key bit of information the advisors on the panel would use in getting to know me and in working out what questions they wanted to ask.
Unlike my references for the BAP, I was given a chance to read the report. Thankfully I recognised the person written about, but reading it was like an out-of-body experience.
Purple haze all in my brain,
Lately things just don’t seem the same,
Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why,
Excuse me while I kiss the sky.
It was time for the Bishop to make his move. Was it going to be checkmate and game over? I didn’t know. I did know that whatever happened following as a result of meeting my local Bishop was going to be significant. Continue reading
Red Dalek, Yellow, Dalek: Articulate, Articulate, Articulate!
The Bible is peppered with suggestions that strength is found in weakness. On the face it sounds counter-intuitive but realign how you consider such a phrase and the truth is unveiled. The trouble is that identifying and addressing weaknesses so that they can become strengths can be a painful experience. Continue reading
Last week I posted the first of 3 questions I have been asked to ponder before meeting some Examining Chaplains; they will be given the task of discerning whether I should be sent for a BAP.
In last week’s post (Rescued from the darkness) I thought over my spiritual journey so far and considered how my sense of a call to ordained ministry fitted in it. Next week I’ll be posting my thoughts for the final question on the future challenges for the Anglican Church in the future, and my role in it. They will be collected together as the Ministry Enquiry Form that will be given to the Examining Chaplains to help them in their task.
This week’s post is the second of the questions set by my DDO:
“Please give your understanding of ordained ministry in the Church of England. Anglicans of different traditions may have different emphases and language to describe ordained ministry, Examining Chaplains will be interested to discover what you think and why.”
Here are my thoughts.
We are family
With my wife away last week I had little time for my theology books. The children needed to be fed, clothes and dishes needed to be washed, bedtime stories needed to be read. It all took my mind off the fact that the DDO was coming to my house at the weekend.
She was coming to see my wife more than me, her involvement and support being crucial to my potential ordination. It was to be an opportunity for my wife to ask her questions, though in our minds we had built it into being an opportunity for the DDO to ‘discern’ our potential ordination as a couple and a family. Continue reading