Vocation & Discernment in the CofE

A week or so ago I was interviewed by the Church Times about vocations in the Church of England, and to be more specific the discernment process. The lovely people at CT have made the piece available outside their paywall, so if you are interested in what it might be like exploring a call to ordination, do give it a read, here.

And while I’m here, another short plug, if you are looking at the discernment process, I wrote a free guide to it all here on the blog. You can either read it online or download it to enjoy at your own leisure ;) 

What’s Your Vocation?

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So, during February the CofE is having a real focus on vocation in the church which is fab! This is what they say:

Today and throughout February the Church of England is making a new call to all its members to consider their Vocation. We all have a Vocation to discover and pursue, whether in the Church and in the World and we each have a story of our own Vocation, and our journey so far. We’ll be sharing individual stories of Vocation throughout the month from all parts of the Church.

So if you haven’t come across it yet do keep an eye on their blog which is featuring stories of people finding their calling or vocation in the church and on Twitter check out the Hashtag : #CofECalling

As you may know if you read this blog regularly, I am a big fan of encouraging vocation in the CofE and last year finished my guide to the ‘discernment process in the CofE’ which you can read for free here (or download as a PDF).

So in light of this focus I have had a look back at some of things I wrote when discerning my own vocation, which has been rather comical. All that pain, frustration, denial, and burying my head in the sand! So funny to think now that I am on the verge of getting ordained, how did that even happen?! 

I’ve written about my calling in various places across the blog but this one here was the first thing I publicly wrote in admitting I might actually be called to ministry. If you are just starting to think about it all, do give it a read…

This one, on fighting the call to ordination was written in 2010 and this on ‘10 Reasons Not to be a Vicar‘ makes me laugh. In fact I wrote a response to it 2 years later in 2012 here as well.

I think the key thing is, if you are feeling called to something, don’t ignore it. If it is really God calling you, it won’t just go away so you might as well give in and look at it (saves time and heartache in the long run!). Doesn’t have to be a big song and dance, you might want to start by just asking a few key friends to pray about it or with you. If you still feel something then start to think about approaching your Vicar or DDO.

Whatever you do, it is not an easy process, as you can read about in the discernment guide but it is totally worthwhile and rewarding. I still feel terrified about getting ordained and totally unworthy but I also know it is exactly what I should be doing. 

 

 

The Curate’s Journey begins…

a good one to remember at this point!

Well to be fair it actually started about 6 years ago when God called me into this crazy nonsense that is Ministry in the Church of England. Some may baulk at the word nonsense and of course there is a tongue firmly stuck in my cheek when I say that, but if you’ve read my Guide to the Discernment Process you will know that sometimes it’s all just a bit bonkers. But for me, I’m approaching the end of that crazy process as in just 6 months time I will be ordained. The ‘O’ word has been looming and I can’t quite believe I’ve got to this stage, but as with discernment I wanted to blog about it all, because I know from experience there are others going through it all and feeling a bit like ‘what is this?’ so a new part of the blog is starting here: The Curate’s Journey. Now it might be a little thin on the ground post-wise in the next few months as I don’t start my curacy until the end of June but there is plenty of build up to write about so it starts here!

And of course I haven’t even written about how you find a curacy. It was so hush hush I wasn’t allowed to say anything for ages! So, how does the whole process of finding a curacy work? Well I don’t know about all the dioceses but down here in Chichester, it works a bit like this…

In spring of the year preceding ordination – so if training part time this will probably be the 2nd year of study, or, if full time (unless mixed mode) the first year – now that is scary! (means you’ve only been in training for about 6 months before you have to think about your first post), then your diocese will be in touch with you and ask you to fill in form Appendix B. Yes, yes imaginatively titled I know, but I’m not sure we can’t expect much more from the CofE. Appendix B is about as exciting as it sounds, one might hope for a list of deep and searching questions aiming to get a clear picture of you and what you might offer any potential church, but sadly not. No, there are very few options to express a personality, those that do are tick boxes asking you to clarify what kind of ministry you are training for, which style of churchmanship you might best minister in, what type of area you might want to go to (e.g: urban, rural etc) although even these are rather vague, I mean what even is ‘semi-rural’ or a ‘country town’ – I’m not sure we’d all agree on those so how do you know what to tick?! So as you can see not much chance to express an opinion. Then you are pretty much at the hands of the diocese, trying to match you up with a church where you might both be able to work together in beautiful harmony and friendship, (ahem) or more likely just to able to get on for 3 (or 4) years and not to do any lasting damage.

So, for me having filled in this form it was some months (from memory I think about 4) before I heard anything at all from the diocese. At this point I received an email from my DDO in which the training incumbent of my potential curacy (aka: title post) was copied in and we were asked to meet each other to discuss the possibility further.

KVM_trustThis was relatively straight forward. I met him and another member of staff, we chatted in detail, we got on, both agreed to think and pray about it and talk a week later. We both agreed we wanted to go ahead and then passed that on to the diocese to formalise it. Easy peasy. However this is not the case for everyone and I know of several ordinands who have not yet been placed. This happens for various reasons: not enough curacies available, they can’t match you up with a suitable place, or some agreed curacies then change last minute if the incumbent (i.e. person in charge of where you are going : The Vicar) is ill or gets a job elsewhere, or just changes their mind – has been known. The thing is whilst we are of course at the mercy of God in this whole process, and the word: TRUST looms like a beacon over your life for some years, we are also at the mercy of the powers that be: The Church of England (and it’s not unheard of to wonder sometimes if they are more powerful than God…). They literally hold your life in their hands and it can feel very disconcerting, especially if the process of finding a ‘title post’ does not go smoothly, and whilst I shall not go into it all here I have heard of more than one case where frankly you wonder whether they actually care at all or have any touch with the reality of family life. But enough on that. Look it can be tough, really tough, and let’s face it if you haven’t got a thick skin yet you are going to need one.

Of course, I did talk to my husband too and whilst the job looked perfect we also weighed up what it meant for him and for our kids. They usually send you a parish profile with plenty of info about the church and area, including what housing you can expect so there is a bit of info to help you decide. We were fortunate that we knew the town we are going to, but if you don’t, do some homework before jumping right in! Google is your friend…

Now then, if for whatever reason you do not get ‘placed’ then you will probably be released from your diocese – which means they give up on finding you a job (sort of) and then you can look elsewhere. This can actually work very well as the constraints put on you by having been in the same diocese for years are then gone, you get a chance to actually look around, speak to other dioceses and see what is available. So it’s definitely not the end of the world. In fact some people I know have actively sought to do this for personal reasons, e.g: family, work etc and have then gone on to find postings elsewhere successfully.  Life’s circumstances do change and the church is aware of that and can make provision for it.

So for me then, the curacy was all finalised in September last year and announced in October, although it was frustrating having to wait to tell people! The usual form is that you don’t publicise it until it is formally announced. Frustrating as that may be, it is not without reason, and allows both the sending parish and the receiving parish to let people know at the same time, avoiding any of those awkward conversations, which may sound silly but my own Mum attends craft fairs at one of the churches in the parish I am going to, so you can just imagine her saying to someone ‘oh did you know my daughter is coming to work here’ before anyone had officially heard. However it is usual for people do tell those closest to them rather than wait months and my mother was sworn to secrecy! 

Then basically nothing much happens for months on end. It seems very strange to have it all worked out, to know exactly where you are going and everyone knows that and then you just carry on with life for the next, in some cases, if you have it sorted early, year! I have lost count of the number of times people have said to me ‘so, when are you moving?’ in an almost bored tone, and to be fair to them, I think in some senses we prepare ourselves for change and then stop. So it is a bit of a strange time really. For me I have chosen to try not to think about where I am going at all, I know what I’m like and I would get all excited and want to plan and do things, when actually I have a job I love, a home I love and we are settled here, for the time being. For others you may need that time to prepare, to plan etc so it can be useful.

Now I find suddenly in January of the year of my ordination things are starting to happen and that will be the next post as this one is long enough as it is. 

I would love to hear from others who’ve been through this recently, if anyone wants to share their experiences? I know it can differ across the country, and if this is going to be a helpful resource like the discernment guide, then I could do with some more input, so do get in touch.

 

PS: if you didn’t know, I shall be off to ‘Trinity’ in Lewes, which comprises 3 churches in the town, and we are really looking forward to it :)

 

 

Vicar School Update // Summer 2015

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2 years down, one to go.

So, it’s about time I did an update and here it is, this time via the blog, because, well just because it’s easier. And if you didn’t know I wrote a blog, well you do now…

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Post Op…

So I have successfully completed 2 years of my ministerial training, if there was ever a miracle, this is it. It means that God (and the Church of England, which are of course almost interchangeable) hasn’t yet changed his mind about me being a Vicar, which is somewhat encouraging (but also completely terrifying and requires wine, medicinal of course). Completing this year was certainly a marathon having suffered a back injury around Easter which a few week later became a prolapsed disk. To be honest if there was ever a ‘good’ time for this to happen it was then, I missed a minimal amount of college and should be fit enough to start back again in September; and in terms of work it is perhaps the quietest time of year. Right before Christmas or Easter would have been pretty disastrous… It basically has meant weeks lying on the floor on painkillers that turn you into someone with the mind of a jellyfish, and about as much coordination too (especially when coupled with the aforementioned wine). This was followed by surgery which was as you may imagine, not much fun, but has so far been successful and some 8 weeks post-op I am driving again and a lot more mobile.

So I definitely limped over the finish line this year and was completing my last essay under the influence of severe back pain and a cocktail of drugs. I sent it off with a note to my tutor suggesting it would either be brilliantly insightful as a result, or a load of pants. Amazingly I did rather well with it, so it does rather make me wonder about about the benefits of drug taking whilst writing essays ;)

All that said it has been an utterly amazing experience, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change it, as I have just felt an amazing closeness of God that I will always cherish. If you’d like to know more, I preached a few weeks ago on all that, and you can watch it here:

 

'So... you want to be a Priest do you...?'

‘So… you want to be a Priest do you…?’

I’ve been off work for 12 weeks now (eek, what will my inbox be like!?) but have spent the time off wisely by watching Suits and Youtube… ahem… I mean by being very studious… Actually I have loved having time to be creative again and lots of that has been blogged on here too, as well as finally finishing my ‘short guide to the discernment process‘ which will mean nothing to you if you’re not in it or ordained already. It’s basically the process by which the church selects people for training. It is, well, lets just say you need more than wine to get through it… Phil says it’s a ridiculous name and makes him think of old men in a room smoking pipes and stroking their beards saying ‘hmm’ a lot, which may not actually be all that far from the truth…

I started writing about it right when I started college but of course time and priorities meant it never quite made it to the top of the ‘to do’ list. But with hours on my hands I finally completed it and it’s now out there for all to see… well for the 7 people currently going through it all… ok maybe 8…

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Getting creative again…

So anyway, this is supposed to be a college update…. as I write we shall shortly begin discussions about my ‘title post’, aka The Curacy (cue dramatic music, dun dun derrrrr…). This will almost certainly mean a house move, and possibly schools for the kids too. It is with some trepidation we approach this but also with total trust in God. Phil and I have always felt that He would show us the way forward and guide us into His plans for us, so we continue to trust Him for our future.

But before then I still have a year to go at college, with a church placement – delayed due to my injury – which entails spending 8 weeks or so in another church, gaining experience and then writing a number of reflections on it. Then more modules, New Testament this term, plenty more essays and heaps of things from our ‘check list’ including visiting yes, more churches, and various tasks. There are frankly not enough hours in the day! This year will definitely be a challenge especially when I now have to add into it, regular physio and gym visits and walking twice a day too.

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Beautiful Canterbury Cathedral at dawn

Looking back this year has been great, despite the ending. We had a fantastic week at Canterbury again at Easter, with some beautiful worship in the cathedral crypt. Some great teaching, and a fab day on preaching with a visiting speaker Rev Dr Sam Wells, which won’t mean anything to most of you but those in the church might recognise his name. He was incredibly inspiring and it was great to chat to him at lunch too, over a rather soggy omelette (’tis the CofE you know, no expense spared…). For me, possibly a highlight of the year, was along with a few friends, successfully lobbying (and yes it felt like lobbying) for a more charismatic service during our study weekends. Despite not being able to lead it because of my back, it was a wonderful service, led fantastically at the last min by my friend Jeremy and I hope enabled people to see what good charismatic evangelical worship can be like. (Charismatic means different things to different people but in this case meant a more informal service, modern songs, less boring stuff – sorry guys, but it’s my blog so I’ll say what I think ;) – and more importantly some space for the Holy Spirit to move. In this case we had time for people to pray out as they felt led and some prayer ministry – time where people could be prayed for by a team of people with some privacy. Apparently it was the first time in years the college had included this kind of worship which felt like an achievement! And we had some great feedback after too, at a college like mine people come from all different parts of the church and it was never going to be everyones cup of tea, so it was lovely that people felt able to worship and meet with God, for many in a style they are not used to. For me, as the weekend where my back first started to go, it was an emotional roller coaster, but at the same time felt significant in more than one way.

As we took communion we included a wonderful song by the band Leeland, which is below. I just love this song, it expresses so much of what Jesus did for us…


I listen to this and think, yes I am seated where I don’t belong. Many people have said to me things like ‘you don’t deserve this’ of my back injury, but the truth is we all deserve a heap more than this. Sorry to get all deep, I know this newsletter is a bit more melancholy than others have been (and no bean jokes other, there’s a first) but I guess being incapacitated or poorly makes you reflect more and I’ve done my fair share of that recently. I can’t begin to describe the blessings I have felt in all the pain and I can only say that is down to God. Others go through far worse than this and suffer terribly and yet I can look back and say it has been a blessing. Why? I think it’s the goodness of God. And no I can’t say why I get to have a good time in it all and others don’t, but I just know I wouldn’t have got through this without Him…

 

Ok I’ve probably gone on enough, promise to be more jokey next time! and there might be some curacy news too :) In the meantime here’s some prayer points…

: For healing – well derr…. this is a slow old process but any prayer for helping in my back would be very much appreciated!

: As we approach curacy discussions, please pray for God to guide us to the right place.

: and in that, for peace for us all and particularly the kids

: A level results on Thursday, need I say more! Uni beckons…

: For me as I get back to work, for the time that I need to fit everything in!

 

 Thank You!

As always with love and blessings

 

Jules xx

 

 

Discernment Guide, coming soon…

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The eagle eyed among you may have noticed a new tab on the bar above. I’m afraid for the time being its not yet viewable, I’m just getting some last min checks done, proof reading and so on. But I am so delighted that finally it’s almost ready to go, the ‘Short guide to the discernment process in the Church of England’ – snappy title I know… Some of you will know I started this 2 years ago and I’ve just not had enough time to finish it until now. So with weeks of lying on my back I’ve been able to get the last bits done. I did look originally at the possibility of publishing this in print, but for several reasons I’m going to put it on my blog for now. Firstly, because it has taken so darn long I just want to be able to share it, and secondly because I actually think it will reach more people publishing online rather than in print. Ultimately the reason behind writing this was to help others in the process so the more that can be reached the better!

I aim to publish this publicly on Thursday this week, so check back then if you are interested!

 

To be (a vicar)… or not to be.. ( a vicar)

I’ve just been looking back over my blog. It’s funny when you look back and see some of the things you have written before. A while back ago I wrote about feeling called into ministry and to be honest really trying to avoid it at all costs. I was definitely in denial…. Now, almost 2 years later, I have been through discernment, got selected and could even be studying in a few weeks (except that I am taking a year out before I start). Wow…
So that was a lesson in:
A) God is a God of surprises and
B) God has a bloody good sense of humour…

So, 2 years ago I wrote a list of points on why I should not be a Vicar. And I thought it might be interesting to look back and see what my responses would be now, to my 2 year ago self…. (the original questions are in purple italics..)
1: I am SO not equipped. I
haven’t even read the entire bible yet and I have no idea about the books – I
mean am I the only one who thinks of Emmerdale when I see the ref: Amos? (and no
I don’t watch it and no, I’m really not that old…)

Seriously, Emmerdale…?
A well quoted line is that ‘God doesn’t call the equipped he equips the called…’ cliche maybe but then cliches do tend to have a teensy bit of truth in them…
I don’t think even the best bible scholars can recall the whole thing, it’s more important to have a love for Gods word and a desire to get into it and allow God to speak through it..

2: I am nearly 40 for goodness
sake. don’t the church need new young bright things to take it into the future?
right now I feel neither new, young or bright, distinctly dull might be nearer
the mark actually…

I must have been rather age depressed then, as I am still nearly 40 but just closer to it now! The church needs people who are passionate about God and about the church. Age is not an issue…

3: I am stepping back from
work because I can’t have my cake and eat it (but oh boy do I love cake. no, I
mean real cake, that wasn’t a metaphor). SO, why would I want to throw myself
into something as huge as this when really I want to be a stay at home mum and
bake all day…

Seriously, do I really want to be a stay at home, bake all day mum..? Either way there are options regarding time worked and it’s up to you to make the ground rules and draw the lines. Anyway, this is the Church of England, at this rate the kids will be at uni by the time I get ordained…

4. Seriously, a dog collar? In
my youth I was a bit of ‘crusty’, and whilst my clothing has improved
dramatically over the years, let’s just say that old habits die hard. Boots and
leggings are my preferred dress. I don’t really do smart and the thought of
robes and collars makes me want to run (as do a lot of things about this). and
anyway what is the dog collar about? where did that come from in the first
place? as they say – must have been designed by a man…

Yes well, not much to add to this one….;)

5. I live in a rural idyll.
It’s like something out of ‘Country Living’. It’s like going back 50 years. I
regularly go out leaving my door unlocked (probably shouldn’t advertise that too
far…), everyone knows each other, and looks out for each other. we walk across
the fields to get to school, a school which has only 100 pupils in the whole
school. The kids all play out in the road in the evenings. It is lovely. we
always say moving here was the best thing we ever did. SO WHY? would I want to
uproot everyone and move to some far flung corner of the country where I am
pretty sure we won’t be able to recreate what we have here… (and I will
have to wear a
dog collar…)

Rural idyll? perfect for parish ministry… arghhhhhh!!! bring on the city life!!

6. My 14 year old will hate
me. Actually she regularly tells me she does anyway so maybe that should negate
no.6..
but if
I, a) become a vicar b)make her move c) both of the above, let’s face it, I will
be toast…

Well she’s 16 now and by the time we move (if we have to) she will have left home (here’s hoping…!)

7. I love my church. Matt
Redman comes to my church sometimes. It is C-O-O-L. I don’t want to have to find
a new church, we just found this one. It’s the first church I have really felt
comfortable in, that I feel I belong in. And what’s more, after training I will
have even less choice as it will be my job (eek) so then I can’t just check out
all the churches in the area, I will have to go to mine. Unless of course I get
a job here, now that would be ok I guess.

Yes my church is cool but already I have ideas on how to run church. When the time comes I will be busting to get into my own! and bizarrely I have just been offered a job at my church – answer to prayer anyone…?

8. Will making church my job
take away the enjoyment? I don’t want to be in a position where I have
to go to church because even though I love my church now, let’s face it
sometimes Sunday mornings lend themselves rather well to lie-ins, right? And,
well, being a Vicar would kind of take that away. Unless I’m in a very sleepy
parish and then they probably wouldn’t notice ;)

Hmm. well sometimes yes, sometimes I would like to go to church and just worship, to just come and put myself at Jesus’ feet rather than being called upon to help/speak/ show someone new where the lavs are… But then I can go to other churches occasionally to get that and indeed already am.

9. I do not like liturgy, and
I don’t have to be a prophet to know that could be a problem with the
Bishop…

Yes, well now I know that this is a problem with the Bishop. But that’s chichester for you… Still I got selected so can’t be too bad…

10. The PCC. need I say
more…?

Indeed. best avoided at all costs…

11. I just put my husband
through rather a lot by starting my own business and then less than 3 years
later deciding I want out. I think he would rather like me to get a ‘proper
job’

I now have a salary! hurrah!! who says money doesn’t make the wordl go round…. ahem.,I mean, my husband has completley come round to the world of ministry and is now fully supportive… actually in all seriousness he’s just been made worship pastor. hahahahaha!!! love the way God works, what was that I said about sense of humour… ;)

12. If I’m honest I don’t want
my friends at church to know about this, because even though they are all Christians and in
theory won’t judge me, I am sure they will all have an opinion on what kind
of Vicar I would make, and you know what, frankly I don’t want to hear
that.

too late…
actually everyone has been very supportive and confirmed a lot of what I have felt in myself. You cannot go throuhg this process alone..

13. ditto the above for my
non-Christian friends just minus the line about not judging – they will. and I
still don’t want to hear that.

ditto above again. Amazing how my calling has promoted sooo many conversations with non church-goers about church/faith/God etc – great tool for evangelism!!

So… if any of you reading this are in the purple italics category, just hang on in there…!

Blogging Birthday!

So I just realised I missed my blog birthday! It was 28th Feb – I have now been blogging here about my faith journey for 2 years! That 2 years has been the most amazing adventure with Jesus. I started this blog (having done a couple before) having had a huge renewal of faith and being inspired by all God was doing. I wanted it to be a record of what I was experiencing. What I didn’t plan for was the online community, networking, challenging comments and posts and most of all the support I get from people reading. Thanks so much to all of you, it really does mean a lot and I know what happens on this little online commnity has really impacted my journey. It’s both interesting and funny to look at where I was and see how God has moved me on in this time… sometimes in huge and unexpected ways!

So I started this having just had a big encounter with Jesus. I was hungry. I had doubts. I had questions, I was probably a pain in the butt. Now here I am, possibly about to enter ministry training, praying in tongues, seeing people healed, getting words of knowledge from God for people… Phew! Love Love Love my God and King….

So here are a few posts that were landmarks in the last 2 years…

My first few posts were about what was going on in our lives including my testimony:
first post
my testimony

Over the last 2 years I have recognised a calling on my life and have written many posts about the calling and the process one goes through when finally admitting it! The first of these posts:  a calling?  I laugh at now. I even wrote: ‘Thanks guys. Maybe we will look back at this post in a year and think, well
there you go – God had a plan all along! although I am kind of hoping not as I’m
sure you can tell :)
‘ how funny that now I have totally accepted it – a total U-turn!!

In 10 reasons not to be a vicar  you can see I was still struggling with it all!! so funny to look back on now though… and the point of acceptance: life changes

learning to speak in tongues (something that I now do daily!)

illness something else I have written quite a lot about is being ill with CFS (although I didn’t know thats what it was originally…

On loving the Church of England – was good I re-read this – I needed reminding…;)

Volte Face a phrase God has used regularly to show me things over this period!

Being Still – learning to be in Gods presence :)

getting zapped by the Holy Spirit…

Such an amazing journey and I long for so much more. More of Jesus in my life, more of Jesus in me, more of Jesus obvious in me to the world around me…

BAP, The Bish and having doubts…

So I have a date for BAP, and plenty to do to prepare in advance. An email has already arrived with 13 attachments and that’s not to mention the paperwork that came in the post… next weeks task I think..

Anyway I got to talk to the DDO this week who gave me some helpful feeedback from the Bishop. mostly good but some constructive criticism too. None of it surprising but the same old things about not spending time in the traditional church. So what follows is rather a rant and probably something I need to get out of my system, (apologies now!)

Just to lay it out, I was brought up in a traditional anglican church, I worshipped in traditional agnlican churches for 30 odd years. Not only that but I have spent time involved in church youth groups, and  serving on a PCC.  I have helped organise events, socials and been involved in admin. All within more traditional churches. I am not a novice in the more traditional church. However because I have spent the last 2 years in a fresh expression church (part of the CofE I would like to add) that seems to be a problem.

My time with the Bishop was interesting and enjoyable, but a definite grilling (which was expected!). I felt I had to fight my corner rather, on some of the more contemporary areas of my church life (again somewhat expected), and I had the opportunity towards the end to ask about opportunities for pioneering ministry (for the benefit of the lovely David at The Vernacular Vicar I mean “Pioneering” in quotes, as in the CofE model for doing something ‘a bit different’ and not pioneering in the sense that all ministers are pioneers, (which they are.. ;) )
I thought this was productive and was inspired by some of his responses. However he still pointed out that whilst studying (assuming I get through, this will be the part time study from home option) I will not be able to stay within my own church, but will need to go to another church in order to get opportunities to train (fair enough but not enough reason to permanently move my family to another church) and that I need to be more versed in the traditional bearing in mind I am going into Anglican minsitry. Well, you may think that is fair enough but all the way along this process I have talked about being part of a more contemporay church and that I am  interested in new forms of church. There is a route to train as a pioneer minister, but for various reasons I didn’t take this. Most people I spoke to about it said it was very limiting and that there were few jobs at the end of it for ‘pioneer ministers’ which means that you are then looking for a more contemporary role along with everyone else who has trained, but you are already one step behind them because you haven’t done the more general training… see my dilmemna? However having not taken this route it is then assumed that you are wanting to go into the more general/traditional priestly role. And at every turn I have had to get experience or read up on the areas I am lacking in. Fair enough, that isn’t my problem. My problem is that then they try to make you fit into their square shaped hole, when you are actually star shaped. Not an easy fit. And I am rebelling against it! All my star points are acting like little legs, kicking back against the square… (ok getting a bit weird here, but you get my point.) So… I didn’t take the pioneer route – my own decision, but I could say I was following their advice and so now they aren’t able to hear anything I say outside of their little box. Responses like these are not uncommon:, ‘yes well thats all fine, but you will be in a  more traditional church’ or ‘yes, thats fine, but your church is not like any other’… that kind of thing. And for the record it is like some others and there should be more of them. grrrr…

So, I am stuck. Do I just go ahead and continue to fight my corner, or do I seriously go back and redo all of this under the pioneer banner? I know I am supposed to be in the CofE, of that I am sure, but I refuse to be forced into their mould when clearly that is not what God is wanting me to do…

I would love to hear from people who have been through this, expecially women, and especially those who have gone down the pioneer route… anyone got any contacts I can speak to?

taking a break and seeing the Bish

Well hello dear blog. I am sorry it has been so long. I started out with a break for Christmas, and then a break for some ‘me’ time, then it was mid January and I thought I might as well carry on and now well, here we are in February and it’s a longgggg time since I posted. It was not intentional to take a blogging break it just seemed to happen, and whilst I have enjoyed the extra time, I have missed the virtual community that is the world of blogging. I also feel less well informed, which just goes to show that blogging is an extremely worthile activity :)

Anyway I am endeavouring to return to the keyboard with renewed vigour, but in case you were interested and until I have something interesting to say (or not) here is an update…

Last week I went to see the Bish. Yes the worshipful Bishop Mark of Horsham (is that the right title? htankfully I didn’t need to use it but perhaps I should have checked it out first..) Anyway I have reached that point in the ‘discernment process’ to go and see him. To cut a long story short he said ‘yes’ and I look forward to a BAP sometime in May/June.
Can I just interject here, is it wrong to smirk when the name BAP comes up? I just cannot help but be reminded of that rather 80s (and potentially northern, no offence intended) word for a womans, well, errr, appendages. Is it just me? please tell me it’s not. If I am being childish over a serious matter I will desist from smirking but frankly it is a ridiculous name, even if I weren’t being that childish it still reminds me of the bakery…

Anyway so there we are. Apparently the Bish thinks I am ok (so far, theres time for him to change his mind obvs).  I think, its fair to say, that I am crapping myself. I am not quite sure why, I think perhaps it’s because I expected to be ‘found out’ by now, as some kind of fraud and sent to the back of the queue, (still time tho, as I said…). And to be almost at the end of the process and indeed looking at colleges makes it all rather real and scary…

Still, there we are, I am sure that the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, has some plan up his sleeve, but I have no idea what it is right now.

In the meantime someone tell me whats going on in the Church of England… did I miss anything?