Coming soon: We Are Family

A new blog-post series will be coming soon, focusing on viewing the world and the issues affecting it through the perspective of ‘family’.  Family is not just who we are related to, we are all family.  Viewing and treating each other as such can transform how we interact and break down barriers.  It’s time to love, respect and learn from one another.

Unpastoralised

Like a phoenix from the ashes, I will rise.

Loathing, disdain and vitriol threaded their way through the report, it was not pleasant reading.

I had been handed the report by the BAP Advisers by my DDO and read it in silence.  Its tone took me aback.  Never before had I read such a bitter report.  It was anything but constructive, instead it seemed intent on destroying me, my spirit and my hopes. Continue reading

Please Sir, can I have some more?

My focus is back on my family, but ordination isn't out of the picture yet.

My focus is back on my family, but ordination isn’t out of the picture yet.

The Bishop’s report came as I was heading home from work.  I was a passenger in more ways than one and leapt to the email like I had done with each incoming email throughout the day.

The opening complimentary paragraph passed me by as I went straight to the reason that I wasn’t recommended.  It was frustratingly short, vague and confusing.  Concerns had been expressed against some the selection criterion but the explanation was limited at best.

I didn’t recognise some of the person being described and there were things that were simply unfair.  What was more painful though was the person I did recognise.  The Advisers had not taken to me.
Continue reading

The Land of Confusion

Stuck in a cul-de-sac with no reverse gear

Stuck in a cul-de-sac with no reverse gear

I could tell by her tone of voice that it wasn’t good news.

The call from my DDO came earlier than expected.  The Advisers at my BAP had not recommended me for ordination training.  I felt numb.

I couldn’t find many words to keep the conversation going for long.  There didn’t seem much point either when I was told that we wouldn’t find out why for almost a week.

The future that I had been preparing for had fell apart in an instant.  I had been preparing for rejection too but experiencing it is very different.  My emotions took the expected hit.  It felt like a light had gone out, like a door slammed in my face.  I knew that I would find it tough to hear such news, that I would be in a state of grief, but I hadn’t planned for my mind to be hit hard as well. Continue reading

Strange days (aka Going to a BAP)

A sanctuary for strange days

A sanctuary for strange days

It is done.  My Bishops’ Advisory Panel is over.  It was quite an experience, quite a week.  There are many people’s experience of a BAP that can be read, many practically focused, some even dealing with the pain of not being recommended.  This is my account of my experience; an account of the emotions, fears and joys that someone has and can go through and that needs more words than other types of accounts of going to a BAP.

So if you’re willing and ready, read on! Continue reading

The time is now

That was the time but the time is now: Ely now is my BAP, Ely then was with singing in Mr Swallow's choir.

That was the time but the time is now: ‘that’ was singing in Mr Swallow’s choir in Ely Cathedral, ‘now’ it’s Ely for the BAP – 2 visits, 1 journey.

The time has come.  The culmination of 17 months exploring ordination has come to this.  This week I attend a Bishops’ Advisory Panel.

It is also 1 year to the day that I published my first blog post, my attempt at moving out of my comfort zone and documenting the highs and lows of the discernment process.

It all began, consciously at least, when I sensed God suggest I take a look at it so I didn’t wonder ‘what if?’ later in life.  I accepted His invitation and pushed at the door. Continue reading

T minus 1 week

Wells Cathedral

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2

I’m worn out.  I haven’t even got to the Bishops’ Advisory and I’m worn out.

I knew this was coming.  It wasn’t a word from God, a message from the Holy Spirit. It was far more mundane than that. It was a mixture of circumstances and the compression of 6 months BAP preparation into 6 weeks.

After putting our house in market last week, in an equal act of faith and practicality, we had been overwhelmed by the response.  We had put our house on the market previously and had 1 offer in 10 months.  This time, admittedly with a different set of economic conditions, we had 4 offers in 4 days.  The house was sold, subject to contract, in under a week.

Now if God isn’t part of our house sale I will eat my hat, and believe me when I say that I don’t like eating hats. Continue reading

T minus 2 weeks

Hello Advisers, I'm a father before I'm a priest.

Hello Advisers, I’m a father before I’m a priest (the cake I made for my daughter – see why below).

The clock is ticking but the time is being used unexpectedly, to an extent.

Last week was supposed to be much like the previous week, but quieter.  The only thing I had in my diary was another meeting to help me articulate my understanding of the things I might be asked about at my forthcoming Bishops’ Advisory Panel.

It proved to be anything but quiet.

We had planned to put our house on the market this year irrespective of whether we were still looking into ordination or not.  Our family and lifestyle has changed a lot since buying our current, and first, home. Continue reading

T minus 3 weeks

Will my application be accepted?

Will my application be accepted?

The date is getting closer.  So much to do, such little time. Or is there?

As I continue my preparations for attending a Bishops’ Advisory Panel (BAP) there I the list of things I want and need to do beforehand at times feels impossible to achieve.  Yet I also feel a the sense of peace and excitement I feel as I pass through each day is palpable.

There isn’t just the BAP to prepare for, there is life away from it which continues regardless and needs time and attention.  I have my day-job, my role as a school governor, a house to sell and of course my children and wife to attend to and spend time with.  Such things keep me grounded and from becoming tunnel visioned and obsessed by all things ordination.
Continue reading

Remembering the reason

There is a reason for all this activity

There is a reason for all this activity

The decision had been made and put into action.  All that remained to cement the position and secure the place at a Bishops’ Advisory Panel in mid-May was a report on me by my sponsoring Diocese and DDO.

I am always intrigued by other people’s views about me.  Even if they can be uncomfortable to hear they can be more accurate than my own.  Seeing myself from other people’s perspectives helps me understand how I am understood, and how to change if I am not.  This report on me by my DDO would be a key bit of information the advisors on the panel would use in getting to know me and in working out what questions they wanted to ask.

Unlike my references for the BAP, I was given a chance to read the report.  Thankfully I recognised the person written about, but reading it was like an out-of-body experience.

Continue reading