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Source: (consider it) Thread: Whom shall we send? The Vocations Thread
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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Let me make some Reformed theology clear.

There is Vocation (call on your life to do something specific for God, often delivered in stages and a calling out of your comfort zones)

And there is Vocation to the Pastoral Ministry (the call on your life to serve in the parish/pastoral ministry).

There is a lot of thinking that the first equals the second. It does not! I get the other problem with people seeing the vocation and assuming that I am therefore going to be a minister.

The vocation to the pastoral ministry is a fairly narrow one. There are multiple vocations that are significantly different. The problem is that many people feel that if their vocation can only be acknowledged through the ordination to the pastoral ministry.

The result is a lot of hurt people who think their vocation has not been recognised and also a lot of clerics who are unhappy in the role they have been ordained to and seek ways out of it. Quite often this later is done by extending the areas covered by clerics. This then increases the sense that if you have a vocation then you must be ordained to the pastoral ministry.

There is a third sense within the Reformed tradition which is the purpose that God ordained for your life. In this sense everyone has a vocation.

Jengie

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TomM
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Let me make some Reformed theology clear.

There is Vocation (call on your life to do something specific for God, often delivered in stages and a calling out of your comfort zones)

And there is Vocation to the Pastoral Ministry (the call on your life to serve in the parish/pastoral ministry).

There is a lot of thinking that the first equals the second. It does not! I get the other problem with people seeing the vocation and assuming that I am therefore going to be a minister.

The vocation to the pastoral ministry is a fairly narrow one. There are multiple vocations that are significantly different. The problem is that many people feel that if their vocation can only be acknowledged through the ordination to the pastoral ministry.

The result is a lot of hurt people who think their vocation has not been recognised and also a lot of clerics who are unhappy in the role they have been ordained to and seek ways out of it. Quite often this later is done by extending the areas covered by clerics. This then increases the sense that if you have a vocation then you must be ordained to the pastoral ministry.

There is a third sense within the Reformed tradition which is the purpose that God ordained for your life. In this sense everyone has a vocation.

Jengie

Thank you for explaining the catholic position (at least as understood by this Anglo-Catholic) so clearly! ;-)

(Though substitute priest for pastoral ministry)

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iamchristianhearmeroar
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Yes, I don't think most on here would agree with JJ's statement! (whether we are reformed, catholic or whatever)

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:

And there is Vocation to the Pastoral Ministry (the call on your life to serve in the parish/pastoral ministry).

There is a lot of thinking that the first equals the second. It does not! I get the other problem with people seeing the vocation and assuming that I am therefore going to be a minister.

The vocation to the pastoral ministry is a fairly narrow one. There are multiple vocations that are significantly different. The problem is that many people feel that if their vocation can only be acknowledged through the ordination to the pastoral ministry.

The result is a lot of hurt people who think their vocation has not been recognised and also a lot of clerics who are unhappy in the role they have been ordained to and seek ways out of it. Quite often this later is done by extending the areas covered by clerics. This then increases the sense that if you have a vocation then you must be ordained to the pastoral ministry.

Jengie, you seem to be saying only parish/pastoral ministry requires ordination or that Deacons and Priests should only service in parish/pastoral ministry. Is that right?

If so, why do you think that?

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
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My understanding it that ordination to the ministry is to the cure of souls through public worship (both sacramental and teaching) and pastoral care. It is one vocation, but we have extended it to cover lots of vocations.

Let me list a number of roles where you do not need to be ordained to the pastoral ministry
  • Biblical Scholar
  • Theologian*
  • Study the relationship between church and society**
  • or even a liturgical scholar***
  • Financial advisor to the denomination
  • Conduct interfaith dialogue
  • Be involved in Evangelism
  • Run social welfare campaigns on behalf of the church
  • live a life of prayer
  • be a spiritual director
  • support clerics pastorally****
  • Do administrative work for a denomination
  • Acts a trustee for a charity
  • Head up denominational policy on a specific area whether AIDS, Poverty or whatever
  • Be a denominational manager

Chaplaincy comes on the borderline as it does involve both the leading of Public worship and the pastoral care of others while outside of the normal pastoral structures. However, I do know of incidences where lay people have fulfilled the role of chaplain. Sheffield University in the early 1990s had a female Anglican Chaplain who was not ordained and she was not the only one. However, you are reliant on colleagues to provide a full diet of worship in such circumstances. This is one of the reason I am religious advisor and not a Chaplain.

Jengie
* There are theologians who have not been ordained even ones who have spent most their time leading seminaries.
** In the UK most sociologists are not ordained but this is wider than that
*** There are a number of senior ones are lay
**** My suspicion is that children of clerics in secular employment would actually make the best pastoral support. They know the role from the inside, but also are relatively free from the power structures. However, clerics from other denominations can to.

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Raptor Eye
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Surely lay people are called by God into preaching, teaching, leading worship and providing pastoral care too.

The 'cure of souls' includes both prayer and pastoral support for the community, which may be shared with those called to assist from the laity.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Welease Woderwick

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This discussion of the Nature of Vocation is fascinating - can I encourage someone to start a thread in Purgatory on the subject as it is far more suited to there than it is to All Saints.

Thanks.

WW - AS Host

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Surely lay people are called by God into preaching, teaching, leading worship and providing pastoral care too.

The 'cure of souls' includes both prayer and pastoral support for the community, which may be shared with those called to assist from the laity.

I would broadly agree with this. The 'cure of souls' however where 3-fold-ministry catholically ordered Churches are concerned is a fairly specific thing, referring to their constitutionally organized structure. It is important, I think, to remember that the incumbent legally has responsibility for the parish, and within the authority of the Church organization, ultimate pastoral responsibility regardless of how many others may also be exercising their gifts in that way within the parish. It's quite a frightening thing to reflect on. And it can make 'enabling' others into parish work as much of a gamble as it can be exciting.

One CofE diocese I know of used to operate a scheme for something called a Local Ministry Team (LMT), where local congregations could nominate and elect lay people recognized for their various gifts, to undergo diocesan training and bishop's accreditation to undertake those tasks within their parishes.

One person, eg, might be lay chaplain to local industries; another couple might take out communion to nursing homes, or take assemblies at school. Or someone might lead others in reading morning or evening prayer on Sundays. Where it worked properly it was great. But problems did arise when folks died, or wanted to retire from the LMT. The very specific nature of their ministries could leave gaps, or create inconsistencies in parish pastoral life, when personnel changed. And more frequently and perhaps even more significantly than when the incumbent moves on.

Ideally, the dynamics of an active church membership with many people undertaking parish tasks - of all kinds - should create a successful creative community.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
This discussion of the Nature of Vocation is fascinating - can I encourage someone to start a thread in Purgatory on the subject as it is far more suited to there than it is to All Saints.

Thanks.

WW - AS Host

Done! [Smile]

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Welease Woderwick

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Thanks Evensong.

--------------------
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Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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ThunderBunk

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Well, whatever it may be, mine seems to be stirring. Increasing numbers of people seem to be asking me to do things, which is both exciting and utterly [Help] and [Ultra confused] inducing.

Short of my retiring under the bed, something is going to happen. Prayers appreciated (!)

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Raptor Eye
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[Votive] You've got them Thunderbunk. May God's will be done, and may you be blessed and be a blessing to others in your ministry, wherever it takes you.

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iamchristianhearmeroar
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Well, thank the Lord my second meeting with the Vocations Advisor went *so* much better than the first, and that was despite (because of?) having lost my voice after an awful cold.

Everything seemed much more natural than last time, and we were both much more at ease.

Upshot is I have a short written assignment to do before our next meeting at the end of January, and then she wants to send me to the DDO!

Ooer....

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Piglet
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Sounds good, IamChristian - good luck with the assignment and the next meeting!

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alto n a soprano who can read music

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iamchristianhearmeroar
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Happy Christmas everyone!

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Laxton's Superba
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Hello everyone, happy new year. How are we all doing?

I'm in limbo, vocation-wise. My DDO has retired, I don't feel much like starting the whole shebang again with the successor, who has yet to be appointed, and I feel very frustrated and don't feel I fit anywhere really in this whole process. I'm still knee-deep in church stuff, doing all sorts of roles, but I don't know where to go next. No-one really seems to know what to do with me!

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Raptor Eye
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Sorry to hear that LS, it's so frustrating having to wait. The next few steps will become clear: trust in God, and in God's timing. Every now and again we receive the joy of affirmation.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Masha
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Hello all,

Just checking in to say a prayer for those 'in the process'.

It's good to read about other people's wanderings...

For those who remember me (it's a while ago now), I'm about halfway through my formation at a theological college like no other... That'll out me to anyone who knows me.

It's all going quickly.

Hope the new year brings good things for all.

Masha

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iamchristianhearmeroar
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Well, things are ticking along for me. I had a third meeting with a diocesan vocations advisor who has recommended that I go on to see a Director of Ordinands. I've now had one appointed (the DDO's assistant) and we're meeting for the first time this Thursday. Oo-er.

I'm not actually feeling too nervous about it, but by Thursday that may well have changed!!

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Piglet
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Good luck, Iamchristian! [Smile]

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tessaB
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quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
Good luck, Iamchristian! [Smile]

Seconded [Smile]
Half way through the first of three years training for LLM, brain hurts, eyes hurt, heart is soaring!

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Raptor Eye
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[Votive] for Thursday's meeting, iamchristianhearmeroar.

Prayers continuing for all of you who are now training, having been through the first hoops and are now fully on the obstacle course.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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iamchristianhearmeroar
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Well, the meeting last week seemed to go well. About an hour and a half having a really open discussion about me and what had brought me to this point. It flew by and I felt really energised by it.

Now quite a lot of written stuff to do (including a first go at "the form") before next time and trying to organise a placement. Busy busy!

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
Well, whatever it may be, mine seems to be stirring. Increasing numbers of people seem to be asking me to do things, which is both exciting and utterly [Help] and [Ultra confused] inducing.

Short of my retiring under the bed, something is going to happen. Prayers appreciated (!)

Now on the train to Alnmouth for a week of silence, rehabilitation after a hideous virus and prayer on this very subject. It remains to be seen what this will produce by way of enlightenment.....

[Votive]

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iamchristianhearmeroar
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Enjoy Alnmouth. The most beautiful county in the country! (We stay in Embleton every year)

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
[Votive] for Thursday's meeting, iamchristianhearmeroar.

Prayers continuing for all of you who are now training, having been through the first hoops and are now fully on the obstacle course.

Indeed. It is an obstacle course, isn't it, from day one of exploring a possible vocation? And it shouldn't be.
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iamchristianhearmeroar
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How you would redesign the discernment process is an interesting question. Without really having experienced any other model it's difficult for me to say.

One thing I do think needs to be tightened up is elimination of unnecessary delays in the process. For instance, I was initially told by the diocese that I would have to wait four months before starting the process with the diocese as their next vocations event (in two months) was fully booked and the next one was a further two months. Knowing how long the process takes as a whole, surely if you have people showing active interest in pursuing a vocation you try to fit them in rather than making them kick their heels for a third of a year?!

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My blog: http://alastairnewman.wordpress.com/

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Albertus
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Yes, that rings bells with my experience of trying it in the CofE (early 1990s) and CinW (mid-2000s). I wonder whether sometimes the authorities don't think this, or other fairly basic points about making it an efficient procedure, matters because 'if it's a real vocation it;s not going to go away, is it?' (not a genuine quote BTW).
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Raptor Eye
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[Votive] for Thunderbunk, may God meet you in the silence and make the way ahead clear.

I'm not sure that it would be a good idea to quicken the path of discernment. Time to reflect is a necessary part of the process, frustrating though it is, especially when lives are put on hold while waiting.

If it were made easier, would the candidates be less well formed for ministry?

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Albertus
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there's time for reflection- with support to help you reflect- and there's sodding people about.

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moonfruit
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iamchristian, it's good to hear that things are moving along for you [Smile]

Since I last posted late last year, I've met with the DDO twice, both of which meetings were interesting and gave me much food for thought.

As a result of some of our discussions, she has referred me to see a therapist for "at least 6-12 months", as she feels there are significant issues that need discussing/ sorting before I proceed any further.

Although I was initially quite upset by this, she's absolutely right in what she's said, and the first few months of months of therapy have only confirmed this! So although it looks as though things may take a while longer than I might have anticipated, I'm also immensly grateful to the DDO for her wisdom and discernment - and also for sorting out a referral. The therapist I'm seeing is also a priest, which is ideal. So, a slight pause to the process, but as my own vicar said when I was having a bit of a moment, it's all part of the becoming.

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All I know is that you came and made beauty from my mess.

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Raptor Eye
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[Votive] thank you God for what you're doing in moonfruit's life, in your perfect timing.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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geroff
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Hi Masha its good to hear that it is going well.

And here we are, training done, curacy ended, lots of parish profiles read, interviews done, downs and ups, and now thanking God for Rosa Galica Officianalis' appointment as Vicar. Which makes me Vicars Husband, in a new community and country.*
[Ultra confused]
Thanks be to God for this wonderful thread and all the encouragement it gave way back in 2008 etc.

* Oh, well you know its only Wales.

[ 07. April 2015, 19:38: Message edited by: geroff ]

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"The first principle in science is to invent something nice to look at and then decide what it can do." Rowland Emett 1906-1990

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moonfruit
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geroff, that all sounds very exciting - I hope the move to a new place goes well for all concerned.

Raptor Eye, many thanks for your kind words - my sentiments exactly, although not without a certain amount of initial upset. As you say, though, all in God's good time.

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All I know is that you came and made beauty from my mess.

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Arethosemyfeet
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Things just got real for me. Discernment plan to be put in place with a view to a BAP early 2016 followed, if recommended, by training in the Autumn. Astonished to discover that this may not be just me deluding myself.
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Piglet
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Congratulations, Arethosemyfeet, and all the best! [Yipee]

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

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moonfruit
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Arethosemyfeet, that's so exciting! And I should imagine a bit scary too. [Votive] for your ongoing discernment.

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All I know is that you came and made beauty from my mess.

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Pomona
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# 17175

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Had an interview for CEMES Southwark on Friday (three candidates for three positions so good odds) but as the DDO couldn't be there due to a vomiting bug, I have to wait for another interview (DDO isn't available now under after the 20th of May). I was told I'd know if I'd got the position this week, not that I'd need another interview! The obstacle course is frustrating already...

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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iamchristianhearmeroar
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# 15483

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Sounds really exciting Pomona. Southwark is a great diocese to be a part of. Let me know where you end up with CEMES (assuming all goes according to plan).

I've had three meetings with the DDO now and preparing for a fourth, and all seems to be (as he puts it) "very encouraging". Possibly looking at BAP at the end of this year or beginning of next. Eek!

Now to work out how on earth training will fit around family life etc... Many decisions to be made in due course.

I had planned last year to organise some sort of ship vocations/discernment get together of current discernees and others who contribute on this thread (whether as people who are now training, or have now finished training, or who are here out of interest, or whatever really! "All welcome" as they say.). I've been very disorganised and done nothing more about it! Are people still interested? If I'm organising it it would probably be in London...sorry to those for whom this is inconvenient!

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My blog: http://alastairnewman.wordpress.com/

Posts: 642 | From: London, UK | Registered: Feb 2010  |  IP: Logged
iamchristianhearmeroar
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# 15483

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Well I never. (Sorry for the DP)

No sooner had I posted that reply than I was checking my twitter feed and someone I follow had just tweeted that he had passed the Pomona tram stop in Manchester.

What are the odds?!

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My blog: http://alastairnewman.wordpress.com/

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Albertus
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# 13356

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Yes, I think you'd like Southwark, Pomona. Hope you get it.

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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Pomona
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# 17175

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Yes, I have clergy friends in the diocese and they love it. I'd be living and working in Deptford and very excited to get out of rich white people land!

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Albertus
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# 13356

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Excellent (but don't forget that rich white people need the Gospel too). One of the churches in Deptford was of course the much-missed ken's place: another was the famous David Diamond's . Is it either of those?
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moonfruit
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# 15818

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Pomona, that all sounds wonderfully exciting - best of luck [Smile]

iamchristian - great news on continuing on with the DDO. I hope the discernment process is working out well. A meet-up sounds interesting - for all I'm not the most social of people it would be good to talk to others on a similar journey. There's someone else at my church also 'in the system' as it were, and we've found having each other there to talk to really valuable.

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All I know is that you came and made beauty from my mess.

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Pomona
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# 17175

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Which was Ken's church? I'd be at St John's, Holy Trinity, and the Ascension Blackheath (it is right on the Lewisham edge of Blackheath, though it is admittedly fairly rich and white). Rich white people absolutely need the Gospel, I was mainly thinking of being able to get a decent curry!

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Albertus
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# 13356

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I think St John's- other shipmates will know much better than I.
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iamchristianhearmeroar
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# 15483

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Can I ask you all for prayers please? A family member has reacted very badly to the news that I'm in the selection process. (Can't say who on here as there are people who read this who know who I am IRL.) It's all extremely stressful.

Thanks.

[Frown]

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My blog: http://alastairnewman.wordpress.com/

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Pomona
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# 17175

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Prayers of course. I have family and friends who will react badly to me being in the selection process (well when it happens more formally!) due to Dead Horse reasons - I hadn't thought about it happening to men too! Is it due to being anti-religion or anti-Anglicanism?

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

Posts: 5319 | From: UK | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged
iamchristianhearmeroar
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# 15483

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I wish it was as simple as anti-religious feeling or anti-Anglican feeling. It's a reaction at a personal level, which makes it much more difficult to handle.

(As I said, I can't share more on a public forum. I'm happy to share by PM)

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My blog: http://alastairnewman.wordpress.com/

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Raptor Eye
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# 16649

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[Votive] iamchristianhearmeroar.

There will be those who stand against and remain silent, there will be those who make it known. At least you know who to pray for.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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