The picture here appeals to me. People waiting patiently for God’s will to be discerned and ready and able to serve.
Since my attendance at BAP in May 2012, where the recommendation was Not Suitable for training for Ordained Ministry, I have been in a new process of discernment. I’m still getting over the fallout that inevitably results from something that you’ve devoted the majority of your attention towards only to be dissapointed with. But, strangely enough, disappointment can be the key to new strands emerging.
I agreed with my Vicar that I needed an extended break of about six months to get over the disappointment, as like any loss, a grieving process was underway. The call to ministry seemed as strong as ever, but somehow it had lost it’s shine. “Blunted and bewildered” is the only way that I can describe it.
I knew that my Vicar had the kernel of an idea of a way forward, but he needed to pray it through and seek advice from Diocese on possible options and possible training pathways to achieve the type of ministry that he envisages. We have a meeting set up for next month to discuss this further.
At the same time I had been receiving ideas from others and some of my own. Nothing occurred to me that is currently in the ministry portfolio of the Church, so it seemed that I might need to look wider than the narrow focus of parochial ministry. In a recent Twitter conversation, a chaplain in a city centre ministry offered me the prospect of coming and sharing his ministry for a day, just as a taster to see whether some sort of Chaplaincy might be one way forward. I’ve shared this with my Vicar, and he seemed to light up, and has agreed that it can go ahead. Is this a message? I’m not sure, but I most certainly want to experience what is on offer. I will be taking this up in the new year.
In the meantime, the new training pattern within the diocese starts again this month. I have no commitments whatsoever, and was worried that I might be missing out on training for something, or anything? My Vicar has reassured me that this isn’t the case. Any training I might need for the role he envisages would need to be tailored to meet the needs of the type of ministry he envisages. How exciting!
Again, I received an email from CWR Waverly at Farnham, offering training on new modules. I did a 10 module Pastoral Care course with them some years ago, which was excellent and one of the new courses they are offering is an extension of the previous course I did with them ‘Developing Christian Vocation’. Somehow that chimes with me. My Vicar once told me early in the discernment process that he saw me as an ‘Evangelist’ perhaps because of my enthusiam and ability to express myself orally (a skill which signally failed me at BAP). Is this another strand, is it a message?
This is the problem with discerning a vocation. So many apparent messages, so many opportunities, where do they all fit in? I’m completely flummoxed on it all, but I’m thanking God for my Vicar, for those who’ve supported me through the whole process of discernment and God himself for being so active in providing these new strands for my vocation.
In the end, it may turn out completely differently, but what it does is to sustain hope. God is pointing me somewhere and it’s not to sit back and allow others to serve. I am hoping that it’s towards service in some capacity of ministry that draws out those gifts that the Church has recognised to be used for the Glory of God.
God be praised!!