There is much comment around the blogs today about Petertide and the fact that it is the time when many/most Anglican clergy are ordained.
Not something I know much about, but of interest because I am intrigued by the whole process.
During the two years and three months since I was baptised and confirmed I have had many opportunities to see those who have been ordained as priests and a few who were still en route, and it never fails to amaze me to see just how diverse and different they are in their approach.
From my very anti-religious upbringing (well covered in previous posts), and with a life-long scepticism, not to say cynicism of all things pertaining to Christianity, it has surprised and occasionally shocked me to find that many, if not most, of those caught up in the 'business' of religion have an absolute certainty that they were not only 'called' but always intended for this path.
Seeing quite a few ministers of various complexions of Christianity in action, that is, in church and in the wider community, it has been fascinating to find that despite the very different routes to their chosen way of life, they all appear to have a fundamental, rock-solid, belief in what they are doing.
Because it has been my chosen method of filling some of my time to 'hang around' occasionally to work, in a parish office, I have been privileged to observe at rather closer quarters than many, the sheer volume of hard, unrelenting demands on the time and energy of the clergy, which make up the daily work-load of these often criticised and verbally abused individuals.
There appears to be no 'cut-off' point where it is possible to say "I'm not on duty", and even the one-day a week off is hard come by, and occasionally sacrificed in response to a particular appeal.
Not only those who wear the 'dog-collar', but their families pay a considerable price for the privilege of being a parish priest.
I wonder how many of those about to be ordained have any real idea of what lies ahead, and just what it means to answer the call.
Whoever and wherever they be, my thoughts and prayers are with them.