Friday, December 17, 2010

The original plan was...

Had to dig out the original 'parish profile' for the Mersea benefice - all sorts of fascinating stuff in it - but included was my original application to the clergy appointments adviser when I was looking for a job somewhere.

Question on form: "What is the meaning of your ministry and where do you think God is calling you in the future? In other words, 'What are you realistically looking for?'"

My answer:
"I would say that the centre of my vocation is 'the ministry of word and sacrament' - hackneyed, but true nonetheless. I believe that I have particular gifts in the sphere of teaching and writing, structured by a strong academic training but rooted deeply in orthodox Anglican Christianity, seeking to express itself through following the teaching and example of the Christian mystics. My orientation is towards the church and cloister, not the academy.

"I seek for these gifts to bear fruit in a Eucharistic community: where I can talk the talk, walk the walk, and, by God's grace, kneel the kneel also. My most fundamental motivations are pastoral, and I view Eucharistic ministry as the opposite side of that pastoral coin - they are one thing, viewed from different sides. I am competent at public liturgy and practical administration, and I would wish to develop my potential in these spheres. I am less good at 'Youth Ministry' - partly from my deafness, partly from temperament, partly from doubt as to its validity. I am also not the best at polishing practical details or at tying up loose ends and finishing jobs.

"I conclude that I need the following: a Eucharistic community, in which I can exercise my priestly ministry. A balance of life between different elements of public engagement, pastoral ministry and private prayer. The ability to develop as a contemplative and teacher of the faith. A chance to put down roots and cultivate 'stabilitas'. The possibility of training as a spiritual director in due course. Such a combination might be found in various different guises and I have no determined sense about what shape it will take. My ideal would be a small parish of my own on the East coast. I am sure that God will make his intentions clear to me at the appropriate moment."

Not sure I'd say much different today.


  1. It's always very interesting to look back at the original documentation after a period of time. What you thought you were about, and what the parish said it wanted, matching the reality of the outcome with the earlier vision and trying to recapture something of that vision, perhaps on both sides.

    Would the Advertising Standards people be satisfied? I hope so.

  2. Am curious to know what you mean by your comment that you 'doubt the validity of youth ministry?'Perhaps you could expand ...


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