With a little over 6 weeks to go before I attend my Bishops’ Advisory Panel (BAP) I thought that I would take some time to reflect on recent events, as well as look ahead to the weeks to come.
Just over a week ago, I travelled a great distance from the far reaches of south Cornwall to a city far, far away… Durham! Having visited the colleges of St Mellitus South West and Ripon College Cuddesdon earlier this year, it was suggested that I should consider a third option as a possible training centre, should I be recommended for ministerial training. I had briefly looked into Cranmer Hall when I was initially scoping out the Church of England’s ordination training colleges and was really impressed with what I read, but did not consider it a serious option as it is such a distance from my family and friends. However, when discussing the need to consider a third option I mentioned my interest in – as well as my fears about – Cranmer to the DDO, who encouraged me to at least go and take a look at it. I came home from that meeting and starting looking into Cranmer Hall again, this time pushing aside the niggling thought of “it’s so far away!” and was really excited about what I read. Less than 24 hours after that meeting I’d contacted the college, arranged a visit, and began looking into my travel options! I had been looking forward to the visit with great excitement, and my short time in Durham did not disappoint. I was made very welcome and well looked after by students and staff, got a taste of a day-in-the-life-of Cranmer Hall, and had the opportunity to learn a lot about life at the college, as well as explore a little of Durham itself (and tick ‘visit Durham’ off my bucket list). It was a long and uncomfortable journey back on the sleeper train – having arrived back home in Falmouth 13 hours to the minute since I left Durham – but well worth it for the experience of visiting Cranmer Hall and asking whether that, or one of the other colleges that I have visited, is the place to which God might be calling me.
I finished my placement with the Chaplaincy team at Treliske Hospital at the end of February, which was a very challenging but stimulating time of growth for me. After a few weeks of settling in, shadowing the experienced chaplains, and learning the ropes, I spent much of my time on two particular wards with which I became very familiar. The conversations were frequently uplifting, at times challenging, but always a wonderful priviledge. I have realised that, frighteningly, I only have a little over 4 months left in Cornwall – where has the time gone?! Thankfully there are still many things in my diary that I can look forward to in that time, but I am sad at the prospect of leaving this county which I have come to call home.
Since finishing my placement I have used Mondays (my usual placement day) as an opportunity to prepare myself for my BAP. This has meant submitting a large amount of paperwork, preparing my presentation, and doing some reading in preparation for my interviews and other assessments. I hope to leave Falmouth as prepared as I can be on the Friday before my BAP so that I can enter my retreat that day ready to be still and meet with God in the quiet of that weekend. As the number of days on my countdown app get ever smaller, I am beginning to feel the nerves kick in. It feels as if this is the moment towards which I have been heading for a long time, and I am both excited and apprehensive about what the future may bring, post-BAP. Whether or not I am recommended for training, I can be confident that I have been obedient to God’s call on my life in exploring this possibility and seeing where this path leads.