10 years ordained
This is just a splurge of thoughts (largely unfiltered)
Ten years ago today I was ordained deacon at Chester Cathedral.
It’s a common story, I’m reading lots of similar social media posts in the past few days of similar, “5 years ago”, “ten years ago”, etc, usually accompanied by a smiling picture of people wearing robes and stoles. Congratulations to you all!
I’m also conscious of amazing people being ordained today, one of whom I had great pleasure to work alongside for three years. Congratulations!
I’m also seeing posts from a few remarking on anniversaries of when they didn’t get ordained for whatever reason: peace and prayers for those people. I’m particularly aware of folk who weren’t ordained because the Church of England didn’t follow its own formational rhetoric and play by its own formational rules.
As a pioneer I’m also aware of the discourse in pioneering about lay pioneering and ordained pioneering and that’s a complicated picture made incredibly difficult by diocesan decisions to seek ordained pioneers, not because they are better pioneers buts o they can get more “bang for their buck” by getting ordained pioneers to fulfil the functions of priestly ministry. There’s also sometimes a lack of understanding that some of us ended up being ordained in part because that’s the route that was opened up for us by our vocations advisors, other routes weren’t even offered, eg. OPM
I’m also aware of wonderful people who have stepped away from parish ministry, or indeed ordained ministry, or indeed any form of “ministry” (whatever that means) and have stepped away from those things or are seeking to step away from those things for various reasons. Grace and peace to you all.
At the same time the Church Times is reporting on a new CofE initiative: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/2-july/news/uk/synod-to-discuss-target-of-10-000-new-lay-led-churches-in-the-next-ten-years (limited free-views)
Original strategy document from the CofE here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/GS%202223%20Vision%20and%20Strategy.pdf
With links to an event here: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/2-july/news/uk/archbishop-of-canterbury-endorses-urgent-plan-for-church-planting (limited free views)
Now at this stage I don’t have anything to comment about the strategy document or the articles other than things like this are never binary, need nuance and the Church is always after the next silver bullet.
There are a number of different tacks I could take in my reflections on this but that’s for another time.
Meanwhile ten years ago today I was ordained deacon and the day of my deaconing was a delight and joy, the fulfilment of a beautiful vocational journey that had led to that point. There’s not much else to say about all of that except that what followed my deaconing didn’t really fit with what my vocational journey and my training prepared me for.
And as for my priesting, that followed eleven and a half months later, that was a complicated situation, an immensely confusing, painful, ridiculous day (except for the wedding Clare went to during my ordination and to which I went to afterwards!) and once again was followed by a realisation that the ordination itself and what it meant to the institution in terms of function didn’t really fit with what my vocational journey and my training prepared me for.
The journey following both ordinations has been a bit of a headswim too.
All of this to say that when I think of ordination I quite often think of this song by Moby and the Void Pacific Choir.