My final call to formal minstry in the Church of England came during the early part of 1993, April to be precise, and I can remember the day almost as if it was yesterday.
I have been giving God excuses for years why I could not serve him in a formal manner, afer all, 'I've done my bit' - I've helped out here and there, why do I need to formalise things - but our Creator is not a God who wants 'bits' of you - the only way you can respond to his love is to give yourself.
But whatever you do, don't tell God your plans! It finally happened, He made His decision and I had no choice but to say yes!
So for the next five years I prepared, planned, studied, and prayed, and finally on 4th October 1998 I was ordained Deacon by Bishop Alastair Redfern in the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin Lincoln. Twelve months later I returned to the Cathedral, and was ordained priest by Bishop David Tustin. Life has never been the same since.
The first couple of years after God's call to me were spent in a kind of whirl with interviews all over the place, and writing essays in an attempt to get me ready for ministry training if I was accepted. I never knew that so many people had an interest in my particular calling, all the questions from them, and still more from myself. The whole process is extremely daunting and quite forbidding - it's called the 'discernment' process, i.e. Has God truly called me to ministry, or is it a figment of my imagination. Having come through the other side I now see the reasoning for all the questions, but when you're in the midst of it, well ... that's another story all together!
July 1995 saw me and 15 other 'hopefuls' at Woking at an ABM (Advisory Board of Ministry) Three day Selection Conference. There was a series of interviews and discussions after which the selectors make their recommendations to the Bishops for training.
What joy on the morning that the infamous brown envelope arrived - I had been selected for training!
I started training with the East Midlands Ministry Training Course (EMMTC) in September of 1995, and in the July of 1998 I gained my Diploma in Theology and Pastoral Studies from Nottingham University.
1998 to Date
I am currently serving as Assistant Priest (in a Non Stipendiary manner) at the Parish Church of St Mary & St Nicolas in Spalding with two other colleagues and the incumbent Rev'd Tim Barker. If you want to know more about my minsterial training and my other achievements and theology you should download and read my ministry CV.
I'm also interested in the 'Peace Movement' so if you want to know more about White Poppies and the Peace Pledge Union then follow this link)