Meeting the Bishop: why and what next

Well, I did give fair warning.

Yesterday, I bumbled along the icy road and up the hill to the Bishop's House – I was meeting Royden Screech, the almost unbelievably brilliantly named Bishop of St Germans.  He is the number 2 (to the Bishop of Truro) in Cornwall, Church of England-wise, and is the guy to whom you go when wanting to discuss the possibility of training for holy orders.

I intentionally dressed down and went for a walk in the snow first, arriving flushed and out of breath – I've always been attracted to not coming across particularly impressively πŸ™‚

And it went well.  But I'm not going to write about that; I wanted to say something about how I got to this point and why.

I've felt called to The Church (note capitals) for as long as I've felt called to anything really – probably for about 8 years or so.  I've responded to that in a variety of ways (eg. in New Zealand I worked with over fifteen denominations) and basically ended up loving it – loving The Church – to a far bigger and deeper extent than I had even bothered conceive of before.

And then, this spring, I applied for a job as worship leader/musical director for an Anglican church in Hertfordshire.  They didn't offer me the job – fair enough – but told me that if they'd been looking for a new curate they'd have snapped me up; the vicar wanted to encourage me with what they saw in me, in a kind of 'gentle suggestion' kind of way.  Plus, when I went back and talked to him (and my issues with ordination etc.) he beat me to it by saying, "I don't really believe in ordination, and I'm not really an Anglican – I'm a Methodist – but I believe God has called me to do this."  That helped, and made it alright for me to think about it.

And in thinking about it – and talking it through with Maria, family, friends etc. – this big cloud of peace seemed to glide over/through/around me, as we faced up to the fact that, actually, I'd probably suit ordained work really pretty well and I'm very comfortable (and increasingly so) in the CofE.

The-cassock

This was in April and May.  We moved to Cornwall in June, and one of the reasons for that (to my mind at least) was the existing links I had with an Anglican church near Truro, called St Kea – I had applied for a job at Kea in 2009, and our Edinburgh friends Kenny & Bridget go there.  Because of those links, I could (within a few weeks) talk to the vicar about ordination and set in motion the process which I am now in.

So, next?

Well, I'm presently writing out a 2,000 word mini-biography, then I will re-meet the Bishop in January, and in the meantime I have to work through the Criteria For Selection with those who know me best.  Feel free to give me feedback if you have something deep and insightful to share …

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