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.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Today we had the annual college 'Tat Fair' - a time when a number of vestment companies visit college to enable us to buy the robes and other things we will need when we are ordained. Being in my final year, it brought home to me how close I am to being ordained! (Even if Rochester does wait until September, a couple of months after most of my year will be ordained).

It was somewhat surreal trying on clerical shirts - with the collar inserted!

I have also finally decided on a design for my deacon stole (after having no idea what I wanted!) Rather than try and describe it, I will wait until the person making it sends me their 'artist's impression'...and then post it here!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

"God made it grow"

I had one of those glorious God-given moments today when you know you have made a difference in someone's life. The title of this blog post is to remind me that, of course, it was God working through me (and hopefully to keep me from becoming proud). I share the story to, I hope, encourage those of us who are involved in preaching and wonder if what we say ever gets through to anyone. The answer is an emphatic yes!

A couple of weeks ago, I preached at my placement (Exeter College) for the evening Eucharist for The Conversion of St. Paul. I won't rehash the sermon here, but to summarise it briefly, it was about how God transforms people; who can then transform the world. Paul was transformed after meeting Jesus; the meeting transformed his world view into one in which everyone is one in Christ Jesus; he then went on to transform the world in challenging the status quo, where it was not in accordance with that revelation. So he advocated for the inclusion of the Gentiles in the church, without having to adapt every aspect of the Jewish law; he also began a process of advocating the lack of any functional or ontological distinction between men and women in Christian marriage. Post in the comments if you would like more about this!

Anyway, this morning I was at Exeter again, and as usual went back to the chaplain's rooms for the post-Eucharist breakfast. There was an undergraduate there whom I hadn't met before, so I introduced myself. When he realised who I was, he told me that he had heard me preach at the Eucharist...and my sermon had been the clinching factor in him deciding that he wanted to be baptised and confirmed!

Those of us who preach regularly know that we rarely get this kind of feedback! It's a reminder that we never know who is going to be present in a congregation at any one time, or how what we say may speak to any individual. The important thing is to prepare the sermon prayerfully and deliver it in the same manner, trusting God to speak to people through what we say. It does happen!

Finally, I want to emphasise the above reference to 1 Corinthians - that it is God who has made this seed grow. Who planted it? I don't know. The college chaplain has obviously done a lot of watering. But God has made the seed grow, through many people, including my momentary part in preaching that sermon.

The undergraduate in question will be baptised and confirmed on my last Sunday at this placement - a perfect way to end it!