Listen to the Silence

Patiently waiting to move on

If I chose to hide you away, it is for a reason.
I have brought you to this place. Drink in the silence. Seek solitude.
Listen to the silence.
It will teach you. It will build strength.

Let others share it with you.

It is little to be found elsewhere.
Silence will speak more to you in a day than the world of voices can teach you in a lifetime.

Find silence. Find solitude, and having discovered her riches, bind her to your heart.
Frances J. Roberts

Via The Northumbria Community

Doing nothing takes time

Doing Nothing

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart,
and try to love the questions themselves
as if they were locked rooms
or books written in a very foreign language.
Do not search for the answers, which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually,
without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Rainer Rilke

I had found as much peace with being rejected for ordination training as was possible. Questions remained over what had happened before, during and after my rejection but the answers remained stubbornly on the horizon. They hung in front of me like an elusive carrot on a stick and for all my efforts to reach them they remained out of reach.

Was the Bishop’s Advisory Panel (BAP) and the preceding period a stand alone lesson to teach and transform me into the person God wanted me to be for the next stage of our journey together? Or was it part a series of lessons, and if it was what was the next one? Was it to attend a second BAP ? Did I even want to go to another? Was it to be ordained? Do I even want to go to a second BAP ? Linked yet separate questions with fathomable way of being answered.

Knock-backs and rejections had robbed me of confidence in myself and my abilities. My doubts and confusion clouded my judgement so it was no wonder that trying to discern what God was trying to teach me in this period did not bring the clarity I needed.

Pursuing answers had become fruitless. To find the answers I had to stop searching for them. Continue reading

Producing the fruit of the Kingdom

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Gardening with God

Perhaps you have noticed how when a tree’s branches are exposed at this time of year they look like upside down lungs.  That’s just what God’s designed them to be: our lungs suck the oxygen out of the air and feed it into our bodies; trees suck in the carbon dioxide we breath out, use it and give us back the oxygen we need.

Like a tree takes the waste from our lungs, Jesus takes our rubbish, our sin, and transforms it into food to enrich us and the rest of the vine.  Like a tree connects each leaf, twig and branch to each other by virtue of it’s relationship with the trunk, Jesus does likewise with us.

Continue reading

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

Strange days (aka Going to a BAP)

A sanctuary for strange days

A sanctuary for strange days

It is done.  My Bishops’ Advisory Panel is over.  It was quite an experience, quite a week.  There are many people’s experience of a BAP that can be read, many practically focused, some even dealing with the pain of not being recommended.  This is my account of my experience; an account of the emotions, fears and joys that someone has and can go through and that needs more words than other types of accounts of going to a BAP.

So if you’re willing and ready, read on! Continue reading

The time is now

That was the time but the time is now: Ely now is my BAP, Ely then was with singing in Mr Swallow's choir.

That was the time but the time is now: ‘that’ was singing in Mr Swallow’s choir in Ely Cathedral, ‘now’ it’s Ely for the BAP – 2 visits, 1 journey.

The time has come.  The culmination of 17 months exploring ordination has come to this.  This week I attend a Bishops’ Advisory Panel.

It is also 1 year to the day that I published my first blog post, my attempt at moving out of my comfort zone and documenting the highs and lows of the discernment process.

It all began, consciously at least, when I sensed God suggest I take a look at it so I didn’t wonder ‘what if?’ later in life.  I accepted His invitation and pushed at the door. Continue reading

T minus 1 week

Wells Cathedral

“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

T minus 2 weeks

Hello Advisers, I'm a father before I'm a priest.

Hello Advisers, I’m a father before I’m a priest (the cake I made for my daughter – see why below).

The clock is ticking but the time is being used unexpectedly, to an extent.

Last week was supposed to be much like the previous week, but quieter.  The only thing I had in my diary was another meeting to help me articulate my understanding of the things I might be asked about at my forthcoming Bishops’ Advisory Panel.

It proved to be anything but quiet.

We had planned to put our house on the market this year irrespective of whether we were still looking into ordination or not.  Our family and lifestyle has changed a lot since buying our current, and first, home. Continue reading

T minus 3 weeks

Will my application be accepted?

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.
Continue reading