Sunday, 26 June 2011

What it's all about!

Yesterday I had a wonderful day out in Wales. It was one of my friends from college's ordination and so I went to Newport for the service and then on to Monmouth for lunch with his family and friends. there were people from every stage of his life, who had travelled from all over the UK. It was a really inspiring service and I was reminded once again about why I am here. God needs men and women who are willing to serve Him, we all have a role to play and not all will be called to be ordained, but once He has called you there is such a strong pull that it is very difficult to say no. Not that I ever wanted to say no- only are you sure lord?
Well he does seem to be saying yes and so here I am in training and tomorrow I return to Derbyshire for four weeks placement. This is an opportunity to shadow a priest and learn what day to day life of a vicar is really like. I'm really looking forward to all my new experiences and also to being back in Derbyshire- a place I love. I'm not sure what Internet access I will have but if I have regular access I will try to post my reflections as far as I am able.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Pathways through a curacy

A large parcel arrived yesterday franked with the diocese logo. Great excitement as I opened it wondering if there may be news about a curacy. It turned out to be a large purple file with all I need to know about being a curate in Derby Diocese and a letter inviting me to arrange a meeting with the Bishop. And so it begins! It will be a while yet before I'll know where i shall be, and probably even longer before I'll be free to actually talk about it but at least things are moving.
This week in college is interesting- we are having a themed study week on communicating the Gospel. Today we had to give a three minute talk on a subject which interested us, and we were videoed and then watched the video. We had first go at commenting on ourselves and then everyone else commented. I realised as I watched myself that while my talking was ok I did';t know what to do with my body. As a teacher I always walked around, teaching without notes and often making notes on the board in response to answers the pupils gave me. Then when I started preaching I wasn't confident to preach without notes and so would stand at the pulpit hanging on as if afraid I'd fall over. Comments were made especially as I'm short and can easily end up looking like 'wotno'. So today I tried standing away from the lectern where my notes were. Unfortunately I ended up looking unsure what to do with my hands and moving around without purpose. This gives me an area I must work on.
Now I have just two days of this term left and then its 14 weeks of summer placement, essays and starting work on my dissertation- oh and a weeks holiday in Wales. Life is never boring.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Continuing Students

Well that's it- I'm now officially a continuing student as the previous year group has now left. We had our leaver's service on Friday. As church sacristan it was my duty along with my partner sacristan to set up for the Leavers Eucharist. We seemed to get most things sorted before the service I just forgot to put out the tissues on each pew. I'd been warned that they would be needed but had to go and fetch them at the Peace. The service was both joyful and sad at the same time as we remembered why we are here, blessed the stoles and then all those who were leaving both ordinands and their families. After that the first group left with their furniture vans!
I have a strange fascination with removal vans. I've moved so many times and enjoyed the experience each time so the sight of a furniture van reminds me of those times and often leaves me feeling sad that its not me moving! This time I was reminded that in a year it will be me and will mark the next stage of my training- curacy.
At the moment I'm waiting for THE letter from the diocese to invite me to consider a parish for curacy. Some of our group from one diocese are already in the process. On Thursday I received my college report for checking and comment. I was humbled at what was written but pleased that I seem to have made progress with formation this year.
Now I've got one week left of term- a week in which we begin to consider communicating the Gospel and in particular preaching. Still got a portfolio to finish and then the summer break comes with summer placement, two more portfolios and a presentation! We will have a weeks holiday in Wales as well, and then its back for my final year and a 20,000 dissertation.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Ascension day

At 7.15am I walked between college and the village church for our Ascension day service. As I walked I was struck by the circle of worship which we follow so closely here at college. Just 40 days ago we walked to church in the dawn of Easter morning, the birds singing the sun about to rise. now I walked with the birds singing brightly and the sun already risen on a glorious day. The service was a joyful Eucharist and after the Paschal candle had been extinguished, during the final hymn we processed out into the brilliant morning sunshine for the blessing. We started our Easter service with the lighting of the paschal candle and a procession into church. So here we had come full circle.
It's particularly poignant at the moment to be thinking about the ascension. The time when jesus left his disciples for a second time, this time commissioning them to go out and make disciples of the world. Next week the final year students leave, prepared to go out, to be ordained and to begin their ministry of spreading the Good news. Those left behind take up their mantle of serving and teaching the first years as they arrive in September. For the leavers it is a time of mixed joy and sadness, joy that they are to begin their next stage of life and ministry, sorrow at the friends they are leaving. For those of us left behind we are sorrtowful at our loss and apprehensive, are we up to the mark able to welcome and teach the new ordinands.
Yesterday we had a days retreat, away from college this time. the theme was very much about the ascension and the disciples left behind relating it to our lives now. I was struck by how many times I have had to leave beloved friends behind to move in the call God has for me. have I become immune to the sadness of parting from friends, more secure in the knowledge that those friendships continue? I don;t know but perhaps next week I'll know!