Friday, 29 June 2012

Many are called

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.


  1. Thank you for this, Ray :)

  2. Four years of working in our Parish Office has led me to question very much how much those with dog collars appear to be expected to be on duty. And you are so right Ray their families can suffer - that is the hardest thing for me to accept. Praying along with you x.

  3. Adding my thanks for your prayers as well!

  4. David, Jane D and Penny.
    Thanks for the comments.

    Just something I felt needed saying.

  5. Coming from other another Denomination and adding my 'thanks' but also to say 'I wouldn't have it any other way' :)) I'm off to support my from friend tomorrow at her Ordination at Chelmsford Cathedral. Judyx

  6. Couldn't agree more Judy. The more varied the ingredients the richer the mix.
    Enjoy tomorrow.

  7. Thank you Ray. Sometimes I am shocked at the sheer volume of paper work as well as the pastoral duties claimingtime. I am blessed with a husband who helps me by doing the ironing, supporting me by driving me to the crem when I'm tired and never ever complains.

  8. All of which just goes to endorse what I wrote, Jean. A real test of the soundness of a marriage I think.

  9. It has it's up's and downs but I wouldn't change it, though today I was told that the congregation only employed my husband. If I stopped doing the things I do, I think thy might notice, or I hope so! But I am happy to beaver away in the background. Ministry is a team effort, and unfortunately life doesn't only happen 9-5, so we try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to time off. Thanks for this Ray.

  10. I suspect Jenni that "if you stopped doing the things" you do, they would not only notice but would probably complain bitterly that you were 'failing in your duty'.
    I know only one of you was ordained but both of you signed up for the job.
    Luckily, it appears, willingly.

  11. I do feel for these people who are being ordained in a world of Christian strife - gay marriage, female ordination-dwindling church numbers.

  12. So do I Jane, but, these are just the more recent manifestations of schisms within the church.
    The whole history of Christian churches has been one of "a house divided against itself", and in a way, riding out the storms is part of the 'proving' process for aspiring clergy.
    Whether or not they choose to align themselves with one or another faction is not important, but to stay afloat with their faith intact is.

  13. Thanks for this, Ray. It's 24 years since I was ordained deacon and no-one could have been more surprised than I when I first realised that this was what I had to do. I was confirmed at the age of 30 and ordained at 42 and have never regretted the step I took, however hard the work at times. It's a huge privilege to be allowed to b part of people's lives in this way and I'm still deeply grateful for it.

  14. It's good to know that you (personally and as a member of the clergy) find ordination with all its problems so rewarding.
    I cannot begin to imagine being at the beck and call of all and sundry, day and night with all the attendant loss of privacy and family life, which many clergy experience.
    To say nothing of the inevitable drain on the emotions
    listening to the highs and deepest lows of other peoples' lives must have on your equilibrium.