When I started this blog I wanted to share something of the journey of exploring my vocation and also the decision, reality and recovery from open heart surgery.
I tried to be clear from the beginning with myself and whoever would read this that the destination was certainly not a foregone conclusion. I have often thought that one’s life feels like a movie that time and again might prove to be of the independent genre rather than a Hollywood blockbuster. In the Hollywood version, a slightly slimmer and less grey leading actor would be looking knowingly out the window of his study, presumably with celestial light, and joyous angelic voices, with a contented smile, having just read a letter from his Bishop confirming that he had been recommended for training for ordained ministry.
In this independent film however, we find our hero slightly squidger around the edges, considerably greyer hair than he had just two years ago, chest scarred (‘though of course that would have been the perfect validation of the hollywood hero too), and forlornly looking from the study window (at the least the weather had the decency not to be sunny), with tears in his eyes and a heaviness in his heart (oh the irony!) as he has just read a letter from the Bishop sadly stating that he had not been recommended for training.
A few weeks ago I was at Ely’s Retreat and Conference Centre taking part in a Bishop’s Advisory Panel – the process that the Church of England uses to discern whether somebody is right and ready for ordained ministry. This blog is not the place where you will find the minutiae critique of that process. Firstly, because a little internet search will reward the curious with the thoughts of many who have been through this process and secondly, I am not convinced that such a public appraisal would be either helpful for myself or indeed my church.
St Etheldreda in Ely Cathedral’s afternoon sunshine
The chapel at Bishop Woodford House, with the offering of our lanyards on the altar at the end of the BAP.
What I will say however, is that the three days were intense, uplifting, terrifying, beautiful and bizarre in equal measure. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I am now trying to make sense of the journey and indeed a report that does not seem to fully reflect who I am and what I offer. I am blessed at least that the news came at the very beginning of Lent and gives timely and poignant opportunity for reflection in the wilderness, perhaps having got there by skidding off the main road with a completely unforeseen bend. I am sure with talking, trust, tears and time and with patience, perseverance and prayer the reasons for this current predicament will become clear. But for now this is definitely To Be Continued………