Posted 3 years ago

Please excuse me for a walk down memory lane this month as on the 6th July I will have been ordained for 20 years; I spent four years as a Curate in Sprowston, then 10 years as Vicar of the Venta Group in South Norfolk and have been here in Belton and Burgh Castle for the last 6 years.
On the 1st July I will be attending the ordination in Norwich Cathedral of someone who I recognised God was calling to be ordained whilst I was at Stoke Holy Cross. For me it will be a reminder of what God called me to, which I have endeavoured to fulfil, seeking to serve God and his people faithfully.
People sometimes ask me how I got to be doing this “job”. Well, it was in the summer of 1990 that Tim and I first thought about the possibility of he or me changing career and becoming a church minister. We were both very much involved in our local church; Tim in playing the guitar, me in leading the praying for healing team. By the Autumn of 1993 we had realised that it me God was calling, and in May 1994 after numerous interviews with a wide variety of people I went to a three-day residential selection conference; the outcome- I was recommended for training. So, in the Summer 1994 I began a three year training course based in Cambridge, culminating in being ordained deacon in Norwich Cathedral on Sunday 6th July 1997. I guess that’s the pragmatic answer to “how”.
The “why” is a bit more complicated. I was brought up in a family who went to church. I can’t ever remember not knowing that Jesus was my friend and important to me. However, during my teenage years, I kicked against the traces of church attendance; and my life did not say anything about the life of Jesus, I am sad to say. The good news is that I know that Father God does not give up on his children and just like the parable of the one sheep who wanders off from the ninety-nine others, Jesus comes looking, and I’m back safe and sound, my faith making sense again and on the right track.
I have been privileged to see the kingdom of God active in my life and the lives of others; It was through praying for people and seeing lives transformed that I felt called to offer myself for ministry in the church. As an ordinary member of the church, I could pray for people, but I wasn’t allowed to speak words of forgiveness to people who were desperately in need of hearing those words which would release them from guilt that on some occasions crippled them. Neither could I anoint with oil, nor give communion to people, both of which can be used in the ministry of healing.
I have been honoured to meet and walk with people journeying through life; celebrating with individuals and families who are celebrating and weeping with those who are struggling, lonely, sad and bereft. Sometimes it is a tough thing to be a priest in the Church of England, but do you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The ordination service includes these words:
Remember always with thanksgiving that the treasure now to be entrusted to you is Christ’s own flock, bought through the shedding of his blood on the cross. The church and the congregation among whom you will serve are one with him; they are his body. Serve them with joy, build them up in faith, and do all in your power to bring them to loving obedience to Christ. Because you cannot bear the weight of this ministry in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God, pray earnestly for his Holy Spirit. Pray that he will each day enlarge and enlighten your understanding of the Scriptures so that you may grow stronger and more mature in your ministry, as you fashion your life and the lives of your people on the word of God.
I have been entrusted with great treasure by God and feel privileged to serve him here. I look forward to what the next twenty years will bring.