A Rescue Plan for Humanity

Easter Sunday 2017

Celebrating the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday, 16th April 2017

Did you hear about the sheep who got his head stuck in a traffic cone and had to be rescued? The RSPCA said he was fine afterwards, although he did look a little sheepish! And did you hear about the Swan that was stuck on the roof of a restaurant? Apparently the bill was too much! Thankfully some firefighters rescued it and returned it to a nearby river. And finally, did you hear about a man and his dog who stopped a cyclist from disaster with some bread? It was a Matter of Loaf and Death! Three ‘strange but true’ rescue stories, okay two of them: Wallace & Grommit used buns not bread to stop the bike.

There is another true but far more dramatic and important rescue, one that really is a ‘Matter of Life and Death’: Jesus’s resurrection. Within Chapter 2 of the Book of Acts Peter helps people to see God’s rescue plan for humanity that the resurrection unlocked.

Acts is a book full of eyewitness accounts and pioneering ministry, and where church as we know it began. It starts 40 days after Jesus’s resurrection with an account of Jesus ascending into Heaven having spent the time in between visiting and being seen by a whole host of people (Acts 1).  10 days later the Disciples spoke in languages they didn’t know but those who witnessed it did.  They had received the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised.  It was the first Pentecost.

Peter stood up to explain what had happened and help make the connections that gave birth to the church we know today (Acts 2). 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

Oh no, not again!

“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.”, Douglas Adams

There I was: sitting down, contemplating the future.  Six months in which to prepare for a Bishops’ Advisory Panel lay before me.  Plenty of time to sit back, read a bit, debate a bit and contemplate all that God has to offer.  No rush, no pressure.

In the midst of this peacefulness my computer and phone sang out in unison. I had mail.

It was the DDO.  She had a surprise.  I was being invited to attend a BAP in mid-May.

I didn’t expect that.

The tranquility shattered and, not for the first time on this journey, everything that I had envisioned doing fell apart.

Continue reading

The Recovery Room

Sometimes God doesn't want your prayers for other people, sometimes He just wants to minister to you.

Sometimes God doesn’t want your prayers for other people, sometimes He just wants to minister to you.

A Pastor once described the church and the life of a Christian to me as a ship made up of three parts.  The bow is a battleship where those on the spiritual front line find themselves; it’s the most vulnerable part of the ship.  The stern is a hospital ship, where those damaged on the front line go to recover.  Finally there is the cruise ship that makes up the midship. Continue reading

Rescued from the darkness

As part of my ongoing exploration and consideration of ordination, and in readiness for meeting Examining Chaplains in the new year, the DDO has set me 3 questions which comprise the Ministry Enquiry Form.  Over Christmas I have been thinking about my past and my understanding of ordination in the Church of England. The future challenges for the Anglican Church in the future, and my role in it, is something I have to think about too.

This post is the first of those questions.

Please write your own account of your spiritual pilgrimage thus far and how your sense of a call to ordained ministry in the Church of England fits in with that journey.

Here is my account.

Continue reading

An overwhelming Advent

Advent may have be an overwhelming time for me this year, but it is nothing compared to how overwhelming it was for Mary and Joseph.

It is no wonder that stress levels and tempers rise just at the time of year we are preparing to celebrate the greatest birthday that has ever happened.  The period of Advent comes some time after many people have had a holiday.  Months of working, schooling, and household chores without a break takes its toll on us all eventually.  Hopefully by stopping to think about and prepare for Christmas will result in us not loosing site of what the big day is all about. Continue reading

A Pilgrim’s Progress

Pilgrims Progress

Pilgrim’s Progress: my transformation by God through exploring ordination is becoming evident.

This week it came to me that my exploration of ordination has moved onto another stage.

Things are coming into focus, and not just for me.

The signs had been there when I met with the DDO a few weeks ago, but it was only during this past week that I picked up on the signals.  Continue reading

The Ministry of Doubt

"Truth and doubt", a doodle by Derek Bruff during a sermon by Brent Hutchinson.

“Truth and doubt”, a doodle by Derek Bruff during a sermon by Brent Hutchinson.

There is one element of my exploration of ordination that I have been slightly uncomfortable about from the start, if this was God’s will why had He seemingly not spoken through other people about it?

It has felt like everyone else I have met, or heard about, that is exploring ordination has had people going up to them passing on messages from God.  They might not know it but they have a gift of leadership, of preaching, healing, praying or something else that God wants them to be using.  God has told them that they should be ordained. 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