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
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.
“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.
My exploration of ordination feels like it has entered a new phase.
The first was private and tentative, like a child unsure if the venture is safe. I spoke informally with my vicar, I spoke with friends ordained and not. I had questions, I had doubts: what did I possibly have to offer of worth to the church? Whilst I couldn’t see it myself I knew that God would have good reason in asking me to take a look at it. Continue reading
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
There are books which are interesting, some are even thought provoking. And then there are books which don’t just illuminate a subject or unlock a treasure trove, but demystify something to such an extent they have the potential to utterly transform your life, if you let them. Gerard Hughes’s book God of Surprises is one of those books. Continue reading
Something has to give when there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it.
A year ago life was family, work and getting used to the school run. That seemed pretty full-on then, now that feels leisurely!
It feels like every so often God has raised the bar and then given me the capacity to reach it. Suddenly though my diary commitments seem to have gone exponential.
I’m reading at every opportunity: baptism, prayer, leadership and a book you may have heard about called the Bible. I have so many thoughts weaving in and out of my consciousness. Continue reading
As I have said in the past exploring God’s call has got me looking to see Him in each experience I have. Writing this blog is certainly helping me in that regard as well, not least because I need something worthwhile to write about!
I knew from the start of exploring ordination that the church’s authorised discerners (I’m sure there is a better term for them!) like people to keep a journal. I enjoy doing that but it is quite different from the blog. The journal is often simply a stream of consciousness, or a collection of random thoughts and helpful or challenging quotes that I come across. As it has no audience but myself it never has to be coherent; a consequence being that thoughts are sometimes left hanging, never developed and remain unsubstantiated. Continue reading
An icon illustrating a parent and child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In my current period of life, more than ever before, I am walking through life wondering what God is trying to tell or teach me. This past week was a particularly unexpected and painful experience. Instead of starting the next stage of my ordination exploration I was watching my son struggle for breath in my local hospital. Continue reading
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