About Me

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I was commissioned as a Church Army Officer in 2000, and spent 9 years working in parishes, mainly with children and families. In 2009, I began ordination training at Ripon College Cuddesdon. I married Clare in July 2000, and our first child, Nathan, arrived on September 22nd 2010.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A Public Thank You

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to the very kind person - you know who you are - for the gift we received today. It is a real blessing (especially at a time when the budget is very stretched, and the next grant won't arrive for three more weeks), and we do appreciate your generosity. God bless you :)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Meditation for 2nd December, 2009

As promised, here is the copy of the meditation from this morning. For reference, the New Testament reading at Morning Prayer was Matthew 12:38-end.


Who is my mother and my sister and my brother?

The other week, Clare & I went to see the film 2012. It’s one of these movies where you leave your brain at the door, and just go to enjoy the special effects, which, it has to be said, are very impressive. The plot of the film is literally the end of the world – as one character says, “those guys with the placards – they were right all along!”

Actually, I do find it hard to leave my brain at the door, because, having become interested in theology as it may be expressed through film many years ago, I find myself automatically looking for what films may be saying about God, Christ, the human condition or any other theological subject one can think of. There are several such themes in 2012, an obvious example being the naming of the huge boats that have been built to withstand the huge tidal waves which are expected to accompany the forthcoming destruction, and which will house enough people to ensure the survival of humanity to begin a new life after the apocalypse. You will probably not be surprised to hear that they are known as the Arks!

A particularly poignant scene occurs towards the end of the film, shortly before the tidal waves reach the Arks. Most people on an Ark are there either because they are “important people”, or because they are rich enough to have been able to buy themselves a place. But, despite their being room for at least twice the number who are actually on board, those in command have left no places available for the thousands of ordinary men and women who actually worked to build the Arks. Salvation, it seems, is not available to the poor or lowly...

And so to this poignant scene. Try to imagine it. As the tidal waves draw ever closer, crowds of people gather at the entrances to the Arks, pleading for the doors to be opened for them. The commander refuses to open the doors, saying that there is no time, and to do so would ensure the extinction of the human race. Only one person is brave enough to speak out, asking what is being said about their humanity, if they begin their new life by abandoning those who could yet be saved. To liberate or not to liberate...that is the question...

This dilemma is pre-figured in an earlier scene, when the central character pleads to a young Nepalese to include his family in an escape plan. The Nepalese is reluctant, until his grandmother reminds him that they are all part of the same family – the family of humanity.

I wonder how that grandmother would respond to the question Jesus asked in our New Testament reading this morning. Who is my mother and my sister and my brother?
We could take Jesus’ words and say that he is rejecting his earthly family...or we could say that he is enlarging his heavenly family. “Whoever does the will of my Father”, he says, “Is my mother and my sister and my brother.” I wonder what that implies about the grandmother who showed compassion towards those of a different race and language and faith...

There is an old African-American spiritual song, called “Lord, I want to be a Christian”. It includes words such as, ‘Lord I want to be more loving in my heart. Lord I want to be more holy in my heart. Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart.’ In the Southern States in the 18th century black American slaves would sing of and to the liberating God, present with them through the Holy Spirit in the midst of the appalling indignity and injustice of their captivity. In the face of the most inhumane treatment, they sang songs of grace, holding onto their humanity, desiring to become more like Jesus Christ, and to do the will of their Father in Heaven.

They were, as we are, part of Christ’s family.

One aspect of Advent Season is our preparation to celebrate afresh the Word Incarnate, love Incarnate, come to earth in great humility, not, as in 2012, to save only a chosen few, but to liberate all – poor and rich, powerless and powerful, weak and strong, the whole of humanity, desiring each and every one to become a part of his family.

As we prepare to celebrate the Incarnation, we reflect on what it means to be in the family of Christ. We work as the mothers and sisters and brothers of Jesus to grow the Kingdom here on earth, to do the Father’s will, to follow Christ’s example, to remember that we are one family – one Body - because we all share in the one Bread. In the words of Matthew Henry, in his commentary on today’s Gospel passage, “let us look upon every Christian, in whatever condition of life, as the brother, sister, or mother of the Lord of glory; let us love, respect, and be kind to them, for his sake, and after his example.”

And, if I may be so bold as to add to his words, why not extend that attitude beyond the family of Christ, to every single member of the family of humanity?
Who is my mother and my sister and my brother? Who is not...

Pause for 3 minutes

Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart.
Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart.
Lord, I want to be more like Jesus in my heart.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

General Update

Less than 2 weeks to go of this first term, and I have finished my final seminar essay of the term. I have written 8 of them this term - one a week - one on the Flood narrative, one on Deuteronomy, two on the Prophets (specifically Isaiah and Jeremiah) and four on First Corinthians. All have been fascinating studies, and there is so much more to learn about each! It's actually quite embarrassing how little I knew about some of these topics, particularly as I have prepared 10 sermons or so every year since Commissioning. Perhaps this is one difference between being a licensed lay evangelist and an ordained priest...?

First Corinthians has been especially interesting - if we think we have problems in our churches, it's all happened before! The church at Corinth was split into various factions, and had so many disagreements over things from celebrating the Lord's Supper to eating food that had been offered to idols; from the use of gifts of the Spirit in worship over the rights (or not) of visiting prostitutes! It's a reminder that Paul was first and foremost an apostle rather than a theologian - he wrote his letters to churches, most of whom had specific problems to deal with, and any theology, generally, unfolded in the addressing of these problems. A lesson, perhaps, for any of us tempted to take particular verses of his out of context to apply them to our twenty-first century situations...

Away from academia, my College Group is on Worship Duty this week. Yesterday, we planned a Creative Worship service - Waiting for Peace - which involved much candles, incense and waiting, with yours truly on sound duty. Those at St. Mark's who bore patiently with me when explaining how the sound desk worked should be very proud - your endurance paid off!

Tomorrow, I will be leading Morning Prayer, which, on Wednesdays, is always followed by a brief meditation. I have been wrestling with this one, as whilst preparing it, I distinctly felt God nudging me in a different direction. So I have a new meditation now - very different from the original - I hope and pray it will speak to people tomorrow. I will post it here at some point after the service - will be interested to hear any comments!

Finally, I have taken on a couple of roles in college. I am Assistant Treasurer for the Social Club (which basically means that I send out the bar bills from time to time) and the Deputy Returning Officer (later to take over from the existing RO, a role which involves running the election for positions such as the Common Room President). As I feel no desire or call to be President myself, I am quite happy to organise the elections for the post!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Steppin' Stone

So much for writing at least once a week on the Blog! Ordination training really is incredibly tense!

Much as I love the theological study, it can get quite intense, so I'm very grateful for the two very different placements I have each week. I've mentioned before my Sunday placement at St. Barnabas; today I'll say a little about my midweek one.

Thursday evenings, I'm a volunteer at the Steppin' Stone project for homeless and vulnerably housed people. I won't go into all the details of it here - follow the link to find out more about what it does. My role is to work as part of a team, chatting with the members, serving food and washing up, and helping to clean up afterwards.

I've only had two weeks there so far, but I've already had a number of good conversations with people, and am learning a great deal about the issues facing homeless people today. It's also a valuable experience for me to be a volunteer - having spent the last 9 years working with volunteers, and, of course, moving into the same situation at the end of training! It's very useful to see what it's like from the other side of things! And, personally, it's very fulfilling, and it's helping to keep everything I'm doing at college grounded in the real world - something which could easily be forgotten in a community like RCC, as wonderful as it is!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

1st Assistant at College Eucharist

So it's been an afternoon full of firsts today!

This week, my College Group has responsibility for College Worship. That means we do pretty much everything, apart from presiding at any Eucharists. So this afternoon, the whole group cleaned the church, and then we rehearsed for the early evening Eucharist.

The rehearsal was absolutely vital, as I had volunteered to be 1st Assistant, without realising that, because it was a Festival (St. Simon and St. Jude), we would be using incense.

Now, the 1st Assistant has a pretty major role - they carry the cross, lead the time of confession, read the Gospel, lay the altar for communion, and say the dismissal. Now, none of that was particularly daunting before I knew that incense was involved, having done pretty much all of them at some point in the past. However...

Those of you who know about the use of incense are probably already ahead of the game in knowing what I'm about to say! Yes, when incense is used in a service, that means the Gospel is censed before it is read. So, as 1st Assistant, that was my job - having never even held a thurible before!

Hence the rehearsal! Of course, I had to be shown how to hold it, and how to swing it (my first attempt in the rehearsal, I was a little too close to the book...) I was VERY grateful to the other members of Group D for their patience and support! In the end, I think everything went off fairly well - I don't think there were any glaring errors, anyway - and it does feel good to have done something new in the worship of God. But next time it's our turn to lead the worship, I will let someone else have a go at being 1st Assistant!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Update: essays, swine flu and catching breath!

The last two weeks have, frankly, been a whirlwind. There has been so much to get my head around that I only now have a half hour window to finally get onto the blog! So here's a whistle-stop update...


I think I have mentioned that I have to produce an essay a week, to be discussed in Monday afternoon seminars. They are alternating between Old & New Testament texts each week; so far, there have been essays on Paul's presentation of himself as a model to the Corinthian Christians, an analysis of the Genesis flood story in comparison with the other flood stories of the world at that time, a look at Paul's use of the word 'body' in 1 Corinthians, and, the current one, how (if at all) the book of Deuteronomy can be used in Christian thought.

It's all fascinating stuff, and it can be very easy to get sidetracked into a particular idea - I have to be very careful to stick to the question being asked!


These tick along, with the addition that the Thursday morning Oxford University lectures have begun. We have three of them back to back (1 hour each): Old Testament, Patristics and Paul. It's a long morning, but again very interesting.


St. Barnabas Church has been very welcoming to us in the two weeks we have been there. It is a very different spirituality to anything I have seen before - and I have a fair amount of experience! - and there are lots of questions I would like to ask about the way things are done. To give one example: the Gospel isn't read - it's sung! I have never seen that done before, so am keen to find out what the theology and/or spirituality is behind that.

College Life

We are well settled now, and are getting used to the different rotas there are. Next week, my Group is on Worship Duty, so we lead services, read, assist at Eucharist, etc. I shall be wearing my cassock for the first time on Monday! I will also have a new experience at Wednesday Eucharist, when I will be Assistant 1 - this means that I lead Confession and read the Gospel (nothing new there), but also that I prepare the table - and this will be done from behind the altar (facing the congregation). Obviously, I have assisted as sacristan loads of times before...but never from that perspective. I have a feeling that it will feel very different!

Swine Flu

Last, but by no means least, this has been a very tough week, because poor Clare has caught the dreaded Swine Fle (as has half of college). She's close to recovery now, but was wiped out for the first few days. The Tamiflu brought her high temperature down straight away, thank goodness - it doesn't do that for everyone. Of course, it's meant a lot of dashing backwards and forwards for me, as I haven't wanted to leave her on her own too long. But, like I say, she's nearly back to full health, thank goodness!

That's a very quick update for now - I hope to have time to do another post over the weekend, but with this essay on Deuteronomy to finish, we may have to see about that one!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Lectures underway

So much for the plan to post more regularly! Last week - the first full week of lectures - has been so busy that it's been hard just finding time to draw breath! Add to that a stinking cold which affected me for a few days, and it kind of feels like I've been treading water recently, just to stay afloat. But it seems to be on the mend now, so hopefully next week will be better!

As I'm on the Bachelor of Theology course, I have twelve lectures a week (all in the morning, and three of them in Oxford on Thursdays). Some of these are specific to the BTh, others are standard in this term for all 1st years, and one of them - Greek - is optional.

Afternoons are generally set aside for personal study, reading, essay writing, etc, although I do have a seminar on Monday afternoons, and a placement on Thursdays.

Speaking of placements, I have been given mine for the first two terms. I shouldn't talk about the Thursday one yet, as the person who will be my supervisor is away at the moment, but my Sunday one will be at St. Barnabas, Jericho (in the centre of Oxford). I don't know a lot about it yet, except that it is Anglo-Catholic - and that is what I had asked for, having little experience of it to date. Clare & I are going there tomorrow, with another 1st year, so I will report back on my first impressions afterwards!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Cuddesdon School of Theology and Ministry

Some of you who know us may well be asking where Clare is in all of the busy-ness of induction week. Well, she's getting herself well involved in the life of the college community (the weekly Partners' Bible Study is tomorrow morning), and she's still looking for work (with no success yet - the remoteness of Cuddesdon and her non-driving severely narrows her options).

But we have been delighted to discover a fringe benefit of my training at Cuddesdon is that all partners are invited to join the new Cuddesdon School of Ministry & Theology. I won't go into the details here, as you can read more about it by following the link - but this is a fantastic opportunity for Clare to do some theological study of her own, and, as the course info says, to perhaps discover more about her own vocation - it's not just to be a vicar's wife!

The induction day for Clare is this Saturday, so do please keep her in your prayers as she joins with several other partners, and other external students, in this exciting new venture for her.

The still small voice...

Induction has continued at a fast pace this week, with very little time to stop and draw breath. There have been lots more "introductions", and I have my first work to do in preparation for a New Testament seminar next Monday.

The essay title is: "Analyse the different ways in which Paul presents himself as a model in 1 Corinthians" - we don't have to do the essay this week, but we will for every subsequent week. With the lectures, placements and various community activities going on, balancing time is going to be very important!

In the midst of all this new information, however, we had a session with the principal that was much more of a "stop and take stock" time. And this is where I heard the still small voice of God.

As I've said, I've been hyped-up and excited about term finally starting, and wasn't feeling any fears or concerns that some of my peers have. But, after Martyn gave us a little reflection on the story of Jonah, he gave us space to go and be - whatever, wherever - and to come back if we wanted. During that space, I've felt God challenge me about a particular "letting go" that he may want me to do. I'm not certain yet, and I don't want to write any more about it this moment, but I have some serious reflection to do on this topic, so will no doubt be back with more news at a later date!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Formation & Theology

It's been an intense day today, with a lot of input, handouts, and sitting around listening to people! I realise it's necessary this early, as it's pretty much the only way to give us a lot of information that we need to understand how things work, but I am looking forward to when things become a little more interactive!

This morning was a lot about the process of ministerial formation - basically, taking the nine Criteria for Selection that form the basis of the discerning process before being recommended for training, expanding them into various areas of development that should happen during training, and how to assess progress and growth in each area (which takes place largely through personal reflection, alone and with relevant others). This is of vital importance, as, with all the academic work that needs to be done, it can be easy to become so focused on the latter that the former is neglected. But, of course, I am not in training to achieve a degree from Oxford University - I am in training to become and ordained priest in the Church of England. The process of ministerial formation is crucial in keeping the focus where it needs to be.

That said, the academic side of it is important as well, and we heard about the structure of the Theology degree this afternoon. There are 16 of us doing the BTh (others in my year are doing different academic courses), which is the largest number for some time, I believe. We have various lectures to go to (including some in Oxford), and a weekly seminar (in groups of 8), for which we all need to prepare an essay. So yes, that means I will be writing an essay a week!

Finally today, we met with some of the 2nd years doing the same course to hear their perspectives on it, having had a year's experience. It's going to be hard work, no doubt, but they gave us some survival tips! I have to say, though, that I'm a little worried - not because I'm daunted by the prospect, but because I'm not daunted. Some of the other ordinands were expressing various feelings, and the 2nd years were saying they were not to worry - they'd all been there, and it was good to be feeling what they were feeling.

The things is: I'm not feeling that at all - I'm just excited at the prospect of being here, studing theology, drawing closer to God (and being changed through that), and the whole being prepared for ordained ministry! Maybe this is due to my having already had nine years of licensed ministry within the CofE, maybe not. And I know we can't (or shouldn't) pretend to be feeling things that we're not. Maybe the excitement will wear off or be replaced by other feelings soon enough.

But what I do think is important is this: while I feel excited and energised and close to God, I need to be supporting those of my peers who are feeling under pressure, scared, daunted or whatever else. This is part of what it means to be at a residential college - we are all going through the same process, and need to develop that interdependence that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 12 (the church as the Body of Christ). I feel strong now, so can support those who feel weak; and when I feel weak (which will surely happen at some point in the next two years), then I will be able to look to others for support from their strength.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Induction underway!

Today has seen the first full day of induction week, after term officially began last night with tea, followed by a Eucharist. The Eucharist was very moving; there was a real sense of the Holy Spirit's presence, bringing a sense of peace amongst us, as we felt the awesomeness of just what God has called us to!

We've had a chance to meet the staff, where I discovered yet another family connection - one of the staff members was at the same Oxford college as my sister, Sam, at the same time. There are a lot of these connections popping up in Cuddesdon!

We've also heard a bit about the history of the college, and been introduced to the way of the Common Room - including how the bar system operates! (Very important!) And then, this evening, we had an introduction to the liturgical settings used for Evening Prayer. Whoever leads Evening Prayer has to sing the opening line of each canticle solo - something I'm not looking forward to doing when it's my turn!

The weekend will be comparatively quiet - the College Principal (Martyn Percy) is hosting a drinks reception at his house for newcomers tomorrow, and then Sunday will see the first Eucharist of term at the Parish Church, All Saints. Then induction week continues with a vengeance on Monday...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Almost ready to start!

We're nearly there! Term finally gets underway this Thursday - and I am definitely ready for it! We're well settled in, and have met lots of great people here as we have become part of the college community. For example, just this afternoon, there have been a good 30-40 ordinands and families picking the apples off the trees in the college orchard. These will then be taken to be made into apple juice, which the college then sells. While it was going on, Clare & I took a moment to look around the field at all the activity, and we both had this real warm feeling inside that was simply, "yes, this is where we're meant to be". It felt good!

It all kicks into gear on Thursday, as we begin Induction. There are lots of things going to be happening over the first week - we've got a programme - and a lot of it begins, "Introduction to..."! So we'll have an introduction to the Common Room; to Evening Prayer, to College, Training & Formation; to Biblical Studies; etc, etc! No doubt it will all become clear as each day goes along!

We start with a welcome Eucharist at the Parish Church on Thursday afternoon, followed by supper and a chance to get to know people (many of the single ordinands don't arrive until Thursday, so it will be an especially big day for them, meeting so many new people). Friday morning begins with the first 7.30am Morning Prayer - what is a daily event, so no more lie-ins for me after that (except Saturdays!) And then we go into the first of the many "Introductions".

Now that things are kicking off, I will be much more regular with my blog entries. If there's ever anything which prompts a question in your mind, do use the "comments" section, or send me an e-mail if you have my address. Thanks for all the prayers up until now - please don't stop as college starts; I have a feeling they will be needed more than ever!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Morning Prayer

I knew before coming to Cuddesdon that the Daily Offices (both Morning and Evening Prayer) play an important part in the life of the college.

But it has been a pleasant surprise to find that a number of ordinands have kept Morning Prayer going through the holiday period. It is held at 9am (rather than the 7.30am it will be when term starts), and is in the parish church, rather than the college chapel.

I have been going every morning since finding out about it, and have also led it a couple of times. We use the Common Worship form of Morning Prayer, which, of course, is what is used by the staff team at St. Mark's Biggin Hill. So I am very familiar with it!

But it has been a real blessing to me, both in meeting with God during this "waiting time" (until term starts), and in feeling like I am becoming part of the college community. There's something about corporate prayer - especially with fellow ordinands - that is missing in my own personal quiet times. So praise God for this opportunity to pray regularly with others!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Settling in at Cuddesdon

It's just over a week since we moved in, and we finally have Internet access again! It took a little longer than expected to get back online, and it's made me realise how dependent we can become on it if we're not careful...

The move went as well as can be expected, although we had a lot of fun trying to get furniture up the very narrow stairs! A number of items had to be taken apart and reassembled...and the bed didn't make it at all! That is now being stored in the college loft (covered with a plastic sheet, as there are a number of resident bats there!) and we are using my brother's spare bed, which comes completely apart, so could make it up the stairs!

We're mostly sorted here now, and it definitely feels like home, even with it being so much smaller than our last home in Biggin Hill. Give it a few more days, and we should be in a fit condition to receive visitors!!

There aren't that many people around the college at the moment. Last year's 1st-year students are mostly on placement or holiday, but we have met a number of them, as well as a few other early arrivals in my year (including one person who was at my old church youth group at the same time I was - what a small world it is!) One nice thing about Cuddesdon is that there are 3 summer socials a week, which has helped us get to know people - there was a BBQ two days after we moved in, for example. We also have morning prayer at 9am during the week, which I've been going to - it's a good discipline to get into before term starts (although it will be a little earlier than 9am then!)

We hope to have a few days away at some point before term starts, but no definite plans yet. Another advantage of having online access back - so much easier to check out what possibilities there are for cheap short breaks!

Finally, thanks to everyone who has sent us a "New Home" card - they are all on display, and are a great reminder of the fact that so many people are thinking about and praying for us.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Update on the move!

Apologies for so little activity over the last couple of weeks. The move is now less than a week away, and we are up to our eyes in sorting, packing, trips to the recycling place, etc. On Monday of this week, we sent several pieces of furniture that won't fit into the new place to Give2Give, and then yesterday, some more went to my parents, who will be looking after it for the next couple of years. We hope that everything that is left will fit when we get to Cuddesdon!

Anyway, the move is happening on Tuesday of next week, so this will probably be the last post before then. Hopefully there will be a lot more time to blog after the move is all completed!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

New feed added

If you look at the sidebar on the right, below the "Followers" section, I've added the RSS feed from the Church of England website.

This will regularly update with the latest five news items from the C of E. Hope you find them interesting!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

New Robes!

One of the things about Ripon College that took me by surprise when I went to visit on the Open Day is that ordinands need to have certain robes before they arrive. But after reflection, it seems to make sense:

At Cuddesdon, wearing robes is a part of the Ministerial Formation - the "becoming" a priest. There are many reasons why priests wear robes (and why some choose not to!), and no doubt I will get to learn more about this during training. But some reasons are:
  • It's a sign of the priest's calling
  • It is a hiding of the self, in that the priest becomes anonymous in a sense, as worship is directed towards God.
  • Similarly, a priest's choice of clothing may end up being a distraction to worship; wearing robes prevents this from happening (unless the robes are particularly garish!)
  • There is one strand of tradition that saw the wearing of robes as a mark of humility.
During my training, I will be getting used to wearing robes, and, thanks to the generosity of the parishioners of St. Mark's, Biggin Hill (where I worked for five and a half years up until March 2009), my first robes have been ordered and arrived today!

For college, I need a cassock, a surplice and a cassock-alb. They may not mean much to you, so if you click on the words, the links will take you to where you can learn more about them! But in the meantime, I have my first robes, and I would like to publicly thank St. Mark's Church for the gift they gave which enabled me to purchase them.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

New links added

So I've added some links to the sidebar to the right of the blog today.

I've split them into two categories - Christian websites and other favourites of mine which aren't necessarily anything to do with faith whatsoever! No doubt I will add more to them as time goes on, but for now there's half a dozen or so Christian sites and a few to do with two of my great passions - baseball and Newcastle United Football Club!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Why Cuddesdon?

The Church of England has a dozen or so theological colleges around the country, so why have we chosen Cuddesdon to spend the next two years at?

Our decision has certainly surprised some people, who expected us to go to one of the more evangelical ones - maybe because that's what they think my tradition is (I don't tend to put myself in a box like that) or maybe because they've confused being an evangelist (which I am) with being from the evangelical tradition. If the latter, then they may be surprised to know that one of my colleagues at Church Army training is very much from the catholic tradition - but that doesn't make him any less of an evangelist!

Coming back to Cuddesdon, here's some of what is posted on the college website:

Our strength comes from the acceptance of diversity and we have students from across the breadth of church traditions. This gives us a unique role in encouraging open dialogue and producing future church leaders who can work within their own traditions and also mediate between them at all levels – locally, nationally and internationally.

Within that short statement are some of the reasons why Cuddesdon is the college for us:
  • Students from across the breadth of church traditions. When looking at colleges, I had absolutely no desire to go somewhere where everyone is from a similar tradition and/or perspective. If we don't open ourselves up to different views and opinions of our own, not only do we miss the chance to be challenged in our beliefs, and grow through the experience, but we also run the very real danger of becoming narrow-minded and lacking in openness to hear the stories of others. Which, for a minister of the Church, cannot possibly be healthy. At Cuddesdon, there will be people from very different backgrounds to myself, and I will enjoy hearing their stories, learning from them, and being challenged in some of my own opinions.
  • Encouraging open dialogue. Very much linked with the first point, and hugely important at this time where the Anglican Church is facing various disagreements (to use a mild word) over certain issues. If the current situation is going to be resolved in a way which unites the church - remember, Jesus prayed that we may be one as He and the Father are one - then open dialogue is the way that it will happen.
So there are two reasons why we chose Cuddesdon. Others include:
  • Excellent theological teaching that will challenge and stretch me.
  • Excellent support for partners, so Clare can be as much a part of the community as she wants to be.
  • The ethos of the college - "a place where generosity and hospitality is practiced in the context of prayer and reflection". This was certainly something I experienced when I went on interview, when everyone I met expressed genuine welcome and a hope that I would choose Cuddesdon as the place to train.
Finally, there is what the principal said in his address at an Open Day last year. He said that "Cuddesdon is a place of awe, wonder and exploration, not of conformity". That phrase has stuck with me ever since - what a wonderful vision! Awe, wonder, exploration - does that not describe the Christian journey? It does mine!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Welcome to the Captain's (B)log!

Greetings to all, and welcome to my new Blog!

I'm setting this up to be a record of my journey as an ordinand which starts in 2 months time, at Ripon College, Cuddesdon (near Oxford). Having spent 9 years as a Church Army Officer, I will be moving to Cuddesdon for two years, to train for the ordained ministry within the Church of England.

During my training, I will be posting regular updates on all aspects of life at college, from the theology and lectures, to the fellowship and community, to the practical placements.

From time to time, I will also post my thoughts about various issues at large in the Church and the world.

Don't expect too much in the next few weeks, as I will be very busy finishing my work for Keston Parish Church in the Diocese of Rochester and preparing for the move to Cuddesdon. But once there, I intend to update the Blog at least once a week, and hopefully a lot more often! But we will have to see how much time I have - I expect life to be very busy when term starts!