Sometimes through the seemingly diverse things we do, a common thread appears. We notice that a conversation topic with a friend seems to be repeated in a TV programme and then pops up in something we are reading and then again in a comment made by someone else at work. Over the last few weeks I have found that happening to me – conversation with a friend; a talk at Diocesan Clergy Chairs Conference; an article in the new Diocesan Magazine; acting as an Advisor on the selection of ordinands and planning events for the end of June.
The topic is one that will be difficult for many of us in the Parish to avoid this month – vocation, our response to God’s call to us. At the end of the month at the Cathedral we are invited (and I hope many of us will respond) to support a number of people whom we have a connection with as they are ordained Deacon or Priest. On Saturday June 30th at 11 a.m. Wendy-May Jacobs (in the Choir at Saint Mary’s); Julie Minter and Jeannette Hayward (who have spent time with us on placement) and Marcus Collie (who will join us as a Curate) will be ordained Deacon. Then at 4 p.m. Revds Mary Kells (former Choir member now at Lee on Solent) and Kate Marlow (from Saint Wilfrid’s and now at Saint Cuthbert’s) will be ordained Priest. The week before, on June 24th, we will have said farewell to Revd Barbara at 6.30 p.m. as she ends her training and moves to the USA and on July 1st we will welcome Father Marcus and celebrate the Diaconal Ministry at 4 p.m.
There is a danger with these celebrations that we only think of vocation as being to the Ordained Ministry; that God is only calling us
to be Priests or Deacons. While this is part of what we need to pray and reflect on (and if you feel that God may be calling you to this ministry, please do talk to one of the Ministry Team), we need to recognise ‘vocation’ is much wider. This has been the subject of many of the things I have been part of recently. The national Church is encouraging us to reflect on ‘Setting God’s people free’ – for more information see the article in the Diocesan Magazine. This encourages us to recognise that God has given each and every one of us gifts and has made us as we are. His desire is for us to each fulfil the potential he has created us with and in doing so to serve Him and others.
This is not about ‘what I do in Church’ but is about ‘how I live my life’ – how does the way I act and how are the decisions I make affected by my faith and love of God? Each of us has a ‘vocation’ and we all need to discern what it is that God desires us to be and do.
The ordinations give us an opportunity to pause and support those responding to that call in a particular way, but also give us the chance to pause and reflect on our own calling and how we are responding to God – please do talk to myself or colleagues if you would like to share that reflection or explore it with someone else.