With much help and support, I seem to have made it to the end of my first academic year at St Mellitus and we are rapidly approaching the end of my first year as an ordinand. Though it must be said, with two essays still to be written and deadlines still to be met there is a real risk of feeling like the end of one year is simply the beginning of the next. I do hope to be able to preserve some of a summer break and so I will be stepping back for much of the summer to recharge for the year to come.
It has been a year of much change. I have learned a lot, laughed a lot and made some incredible new friends. It has been my great pleasure to journey with you all at St Nick’s over the past year and I look forward to all the exciting things to come. St Nick’s seems particularly filled with life at the moment and while it is important to ensure we do not get lost in the busyness, Rachel and I often talk with much excitement at seeing the ways in which the Holy Spirit is moving within our community. It is a privilege to witness and be a part of what God is doing in the life of St Nick’s.
I have been immensely grateful for all the support and encouragement I have received over this past year. It has been incredibly humbling to realise how keen people are to support me, both personally and professionally, to not only do what is required but to grow and flourish in the ministry to which God is calling me. It was never going to be easy and at times has been incredibly difficult, but the practical, emotional and prayerful support of so many people has been a consistent source of encouragement and I cannot thank you enough. Please do continue to pray for me as I move into the second year particularly as myself, and those supporting me in training, look for ways to ensure I can support Abbie through the complex medical situations she faces this year while continuing to train.
As ever, I am thankful for the variety of opportunities to grow and to learn that have been offered to me. There is a real richness in this particular model of training, and particularly in its practical outworking for my own training, which allows me to experience some of the breadth of the Church of England exposing me to different types of people and different theological perspectives. This can at times feel like I don’t quite fit in some of the contexts I find myself in.
But as time goes on, and I find myself more established and more willing and able to question and challenge, I am becoming increasingly aware of what a privilege it is to be presented with such a broad perspective. Even when I find myself in a position of profound disagreement I am doing so in the context of community, prayer, and worship. I am immensely blessed by being surrounded by gifted teachers and theologians, not least in Rachel, who provide me with space to reflect and discern what for me is at the heart of the Gospel we profess.
It has been a challenging year in many ways but also a year of great blessings. I have much to be thankful for. As we look towards the year to come, I look forward to getting to know our new curate, Alan, and the insights and perspectives he will bring as well as continuing to journey with you all in both new and familiar ways. I pray that there may be times of peace and rest for us all over the summer months and that God will be our ever present guide in all that is to come.