About Me

My photo
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.

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!