I realise that there are several friends we have made along the way who drop by this blog to keep up with our news, and that some of you are wondering what we’re engaging with, since we have been back in Sheffield…
The big-picture answer is that I’ve been going through the discernment process for ordination in the Church of England. I haven’t mentioned this at all here until now, because it is an incredibly vulnerable process; and also because it would probably be counter-productive for me to express the frustrations within that process in a public record.
My sense of call to be(come) a leader of Christian communities specifically within the context of the Church of England – to be an Anglican priest – goes back over ten years. Like my intestines, it is something I am aware of without being fixated on; something I carry around with me at all times; something that is fundamental to how I have been made; and yet not something that I can lay out on the table and forensically dissect before you. It is something, however, that we have weighed and prepared for with those leaders within the Church to whom we have been accountable over that time.
Here is what I want to do: to serve an existing congregation, or congregations, that wants to change in order to more effectively engage in mission within the wider community in which it is located (for those of you familiar with current discussions within the CofE, mission-shaped parish ministry, rather than pioneer minister). My qualifications to do so include ten years of coached experience of establishing mission-shaped communities, and of coaching others to do the same in turn; within the context of a church community being transformed from a maintenance focus to a missional focus. As apprenticeships go, it has been a thorough one. Not that I think that I have All The Answers, by any means (not least because both God and our context keep posing us new questions), but, I do believe I have a significant volume of relevant experience that has shaped me in preparation for such a calling.
Suffice to say that the process is not a straight-forward one; and that various obstacles present themselves along the road. I’m not sure how much of the journey I’ll share in this context, or in how much detail. But I felt I owed it to at least a few of you to say, this is the terrain we are currently traversing.
vocation , ordination , journey