I’m really pleased to be able to say, God willing, that I will serve my title post (translation= continue my training at) St Edmunds Chingford with Revd Lesley Goldsmith. Ordinations are on 25 June. I will be in Chingford for about three years. Please pray for the parish, for me, and for all those who are in the process of finding their first posts at the moment.
I know there will be a few people reading this who usually get their next job by more traditional means… so by way of explanation…
The process by which an ordinand (what I currently am) is matched with a training parish is a bit like a blind date – the Diocese look at your details, and the places they have identified as training posts, find a likely match and send you off to meet the incumbent (=current vicar and person who will be mostly responsible for your training). There’s a bit more information here and a whole bunch of questions about what being a deacon or a priest or a vicar or what ‘being ordained’ means here.
We’ve had lots of help from Westcott House in terms of identifying the ‘first date’ questions, possible things to think about, and what might be ‘warning signs’ that it’s not a good match. The piece of advice though, that most people gave, was that the actual context (rural vs urban, modern vs old church, etc) was far, far less important than whether you can get on with the incumbent. My first date (back in June!) was a very encouraging experience, I went back in August after I’d finished the Manchester placement just to check as I was pretty sure in June I wanted to train with Lesley.
In the first instance, I am ordained deacon – and for the best job description of what that is, here are the words from the ordination service:
Deacons are called to work with the Bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ’s kingdom. They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God’s purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.
Deacons share in the pastoral ministry of the Church and in leading God’s people in worship. They preach the word and bring the needs of the world before the Church in intercession. They accompany those searching for faith and bring them to baptism. They assist in administering the sacraments; they distribute communion and minister to the sick and housebound.
Deacons are to seek nourishment from the Scriptures; they are to study them with God’s people, that the whole Church may be equipped to live out the gospel in the world. They are to be faithful in prayer, expectant and watchful for the signs of God’s presence, as he reveals his kingdom among us.
So what next? For now, I’m just getting on with it. Like last year, I have a busy round of lectures, supervisions, essays to write; fun to have; plus Sundays in the Lordsbridge team ministry (Harlton, Barton, Coton and Haslingfield). I’m helping to organise the ‘tat fairs’ when we final year students will choose and buy our clerical uniforms (Liz writes about the emotional and sartorial trauma of that one…