Before joining the Way2 Community, when I thought about the possibility of going to a Bishops’ Advisory Panel (BAP) I imagined it as an event about which I would be very private. I would only tell the date of the panel to a small number of people who I would trust to pray for me throughout, and keep the discernment process as private as possible. But since joining the community, I have found myself immersed in many different communities and different aspects of church (particularly Anglican church) life.
Being part of a scheme which is headed up by the Diocese of Truro, there are people all across Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the two parishes in Devon – which together form the Diocese of Truro – who are aware that I am discerning a calling to serve God as a priest in the Church of England, and are keen to know how I am progressing on this journey. Having visited a handful of theological colleges, to consider where God may be calling me to study if I am recommended for training, I have shared my journey with others who have trodden this path before me, and been assured of their prayers for me. I have moved to Cornwall from Somerset, where I was involved in local churches for many years, and so have friends there, including my ‘home’ church, who love to hear what I’m up to and pray for me. And I’m a part of a community here with whom I share my life, who have been upholding me, hugging me, and promising me cake as a reward after BAP, who know probably as much as I do about my journey!
With so many people who have shown me love and support on this journey, it has naturally become the case that I have been more open about the process than I was expecting. Through conversations, blog posts and social media, I have shared the ups and downs of my journey – from the excitement of visiting a college which felt like the place to which God was calling me, to my handful of pre-BAP wobbles which my community have experienced firsthand. Sharing the process has been incredibly helpful to me as I work through and reflect on my experiences and emotions, and I have been overwhelmed by the prayers that have, are, and will be offered for me. Whilst the journey of discernment is at its heart a private one between myself and God, making this journey more open, more public, has lead me to being surrounding in love, prayer and support more than I could ever have imagined.
Thank you to all those who are praying for me. As the date of my BAP dawns closer, and with it the huge decision about my future that is about to be made, I have reached a place of peace where I am confident that whatever the outcome, I will be held in God’s love and surrounded by people who will support me through whatever the future holds.