It’s a strange thing to have to tell people.
“I’m going to train for the priesthood.”
Many people have questions. Some say they’ve always known I’d be doing this. A few have been taken completely by surprise.
Everyone has been supportive and lovely. No-one has backed off.
I’ve now entered an intense period where I’ve got to find a theological college and get my affairs in order over the summer. But my feelings of euphoria have not dissipated. I don’t doubt they will at some point – but for now my own reaction has been summed up by gratitude to those who’ve got me this far – and glory to God for illuming my path.
We’re only just beginning
The week of waiting for my BAP result was, without question, the hardest week I’ve ever lived through. Anything life changing must be tough to deal with but I’d no idea how much I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else aside from how I’d done in BAP.
And what I’d do if the answer was no.
There’s something vaguely strange about seeing the Bishop’s name and number flash up on your phone. You rush off to find a quiet place to talk, hoping no-one in work sees the colour drain from your face. You try to keep your voice from shaking.
None of that matters when he tells you you’ve been recommended.
Much of the rest of the conversation is a blur. But it’s there. I’m going. Glory to God in the highest!
Now…where to study…?
Some time ago, I went to my BAP – which is the culmination of the national selection process attended by all candidates for ordination in the Church of England. It comes after many months and years of preparation, reflection and prayer – and after the completion of a lot of paperwork!
Reflecting on the days I spent in that environment brings back a whole host of feelings and emotions. At the end of the last day I was fairly spent physically – it really takes it out of you. A lot of wondering “could I have answered that in a slightly better way?” And there is always a nagging fear at the back of your mind. It’s no small thing to offer your life and yourself to God in service. What if the answer is no? Where does that leave us? Those questions have stayed with me ever since I returned home.
But how spiritually uplifting the whole thing was! I was privileged to meet some wonderful people whose faith and witness to Jesus Christ was amazing to see. Everyone was so gracious and generous with time and prayer. I thanked God for bringing me to that place at that time – after all, the journey is as important as the destination.
And how did I do? Well, that’s a story for another time…