Saturday, 8 January 2011

Reflect; forward and back.....

Apologies in advance. This might be quite a ramble, but I had the urge to do a bit of reflecting, both on the last year and also what is to come.

There's still a lot of stuff that I can't put into print just yet, but looking back on 2010 and what a year that was. Completed my second year of Theological studies at STETS and started my third and final one. I reckon that there were 7 residential weekends and an Easter School in that time. It was a time of maturing for me in many ways, clarifying where I think God is taking me and also feeling more comfortable (if that's the right word) that this calling is for real. I got a decent Interim Report - and it didn't contain a 'but'.

There were tears along the way (and they probably won't stop). My emotions became more 'out there'. It's not that I wasn't ever an emotional person, but I became more comfortable in expressing them; both in tears and laughter. In addition to all of this there was the cementing and grounding of some wonderful friendships within STETS that I am sure will stay in place and develop over the next months, years and decades and between us will be a support network that I am sure we will all need in the times to come.

My horizons continue to be broadened in terms of my experiences with Church. Over the course of 2010 I experienced the familiar in Anglo-Catholic worship, but also a very good share of Evangelical worship and felt that I connected with God across the spectrum of worship that I experienced. I don't want to be confined to any boxes either in my future ministry but in general. What's important to me is ensuring and enabling us all to be able to connect with God. I struggle with those who refuse point blank to even contemplate experiencing differing styles or traditions of worship.

Over the course of the year I have gradually acquired various items of clerical wear and even tried on and ordered my clerical shirts (black, of course). And I have my mother and mother-in-law supplying stoles. My Mother-in-Law lovingly made and gave to me for Christmas what will be my ordination stole. It's a work of art and of love. Quite something. I don't think the pictures necessarily do it justice....but here's a flavour.

The end of the year was spent with college friend, Angi and her family. Aside from the wonderful company of Angi, Tim and children, we were able to look forward with a bit of fear and trepidation, but also excitement to 2011 as the clock struck midnight. With the knowledge that we will be being ordained in Winchester Cathedral on July 3rd at 10am. With our families and friends around us as we take the next step..............

Ordination is really THIS YEAR. I am scared. I'm in the throes of ensuring that my Training Minister and Tutor get their (final) report on me done for STETS (I get very twitchy at report time due to past experiences). I'm also back at work and have had a tricky week emotionally. Having signed up to the 365Project where I endeavour to post a picture every day, Wednesday's picture summed up my emotions at the time. Feeling as if I was struggling to get through to God. In my heart I know he's there listening; I think the problem was more with me not listening back. Here's the picture anyway.......

There seems so so much to do. I have my academic work to continue with; currently John's Gospel, as well as the 'practical' stuff; writing up sermon reflections and trying to find a funeral to go to to complete another part of the module and fitting a study day in somewhere. A lot of juggling, but I'm not in any worse position than anyone else on the course.

And fast forward.....less than 6 months. Processing up what is, apparently, one of the longest Naves in Europe! I know God will carry me through to that point. I just need to ensure that I try to listen and continue to talking to Him. All shall be well. It won't necessarily be easy. I'm not expecting an easy ride. No. I just pray that my heart is open to hear what He says to me and to respond accordingly. To be brave. To take courage in my hands knowing he is with me. And to Hope. Life, surely, is all about hope. Hope is in the Christ child, Hope in the Death and Resurrection of Christ and the life that he blesses me with.

And to finish...this from Brother Roger.....

'Gather everything that happens, trivialities included, with reservation, regret or nostalgia, in inexhaustible wonder. Set out, going forward one step at a time, from doubt towards faith, not worrying about the impossible ahead. Light fire, even with the thorns that tear you.


  1. Beautiful ordination stole. I don't know you, but it seems from the way you write that you will make a very good priest. It's a wonderful privilege, but you are right to feel a bit anxious because it is also extremely challenging in many varied ways. Best wishes.

  2. @Karen. Thank you so much. Very kind words and appreciated. I am sure 6 months will fly!

  3. Lovely post M, caught it all :) I''m rather hoping God's going to carry on carrying me up that Nave too! have a feeling even walking might be a challenge!!