March 2014 – It’s all starting to get a bit real!

We are more than a month into 2014, and the march towards my (God and Bishop willing!) ordination is gaining pace.  It is a slightly surreal situation, with two parallel lives going on:

I get regular letters from the Diocese asking for documents and certificates, so they can produce the legal paperwork for my licence.  I am ordering all manner of ecclesiastical clothes which I will hopefully need, and have to order in advance so they arrive in time.  I am arranging dates for meetings about my ongoing training in curacy.

But at the same time a progression of assignments still need to be done, and done well enough to pass the course and allow me to be recommended for ordination.  They won’t go away; I still have a few thousand words to write on various subjects.

It is a bit like a small child on Christmas Eve, you know there are things that must be done, that time can’t be sped up, but how you wish it was Christmas Morning!

Last term we were studying Theological and Ethical Thinking, which is as hard as it sounds, but more entertaining!   We were taught by a man who used to be principal of an Oxford theological college, but has retired to be a Parish Priest in Manchester.  Although he was several intellectual planes above all of us, he was an inspiring teacher, and we all learned a great deal.  How much has made it into the 4000 words on Sin I handed in a couple of weeks ago is another question!

This term we are looking at theories of leadership in the Church, what makes effective leaders, and what leadership means for those of us who will spend our ministries in assisting roles.  It’s slightly less hard on the brain than deep theology, but just as crucial for ministry.

Last year and the year before we all spent a week at Liverpool Hope University on Summer School, but hopefully by that time this year we will be wearing funny shirts, so this year we have Easter School instead.  Running from the day before Palm Sunday, to dawn on Easter Sunday, it will be an intensive week of study of the Worship and Preaching module, reflection, worship and hopefully a bit of fun social time too.

Following that, we have a final weekend learning about marriage, and (assuming I manage to pass all my assignments) it will be the countdown to the big day.

So where did the last two and a half years go?  I don’t know!  It has been a fantastic experience, and although it has had its stressful times; times when the assignment deadline looms and the pile of books need reading, the friendships I have forged and the experiences we have had together have made it so worthwhile.

I must take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you for supporting me thus far in my training.  It is so helpful to get little words of encouragement, and feel part of a supportive community; I know I am truly blessed.  

Best wishes,     Malcolm Wearing