On Placement – Part One


It has been a while since I updated you all about what’s happening with my spiritual journey so I thought today was a good day to share with you where I am up to.

You may know that I am currently in the stage of discerning God’s call and what it means for me and my life, and having gone through several stages of inspection and indeed introspection, I am now moving on to another stage of my journey.

I have been given a date to attend a Bishop’s Advisory Panel (BAP for short) in September, where I will go through a three-day “interview” process where I may – or may not – be recommended to go for further training in the church. As part of the process so far I have seen two vocational advisors and an examining chaplain as well as having several conversations with the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) about what God’s call sounds like to me. During that process, it has been highlighted that I have little experience of church outside my own circle, and so I have arranged to do a short placement with a neighbouring parish to see how they do things there.

I started my placement today at St Michael’s in Alkrington, and I am going to be there for the next three Sundays with a view to learning as much as I can from a different priest-in-charge and from the congregation there.

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It has been a long day – my first service was at 8am this morning – but I have met lots of new people and seen three different styles of worship with three different congregations. First was a said Eucharist, which means that we shared holy communion but there were no hymns and all of the prayers and responses were spoken not sung. Next was a service at 9.30am which was a sung Eucharist, which you can probably work out is where we share communion but sing hymns and responses. Both services were very different from that which I am used to, but it helped me focus on the reasons why we “do” worship in church, and how we relate to each other as fellow worshippers.

I had a cup of tea after the service with some of the congregation members and I think I have found a new set of friends in the needlework group who meet on a Monday afternoon! The ladies there promised me a noisy afternoon of knitting and nattering so I’m going to take my crochet hooks with me and head off tomorrow for some fun and chats with them. I also spoke to a gentleman who at the grand age of 93 still plays euphonium in the church brass band, and with whom I have a “date” on Thursday evening at band practice.

Later on, I went to a Family Service which was a totally different service in terms of style for families who are looking to have their children in faith schools. There was over 70 children there and wow, what an experience!

I was introduced to all three congregations and prayers were offered for me and my vocational call. I was touched and humbled by the response of the church today because I don’t remember ever being the focus of attention quite so much before, and to know that there are about 200 people who prayed for me today was an amazing feeling.

I have learned a lot of things today – not least that 93 year old gentlemen can use a smartphone better than some children can! – and I am looking forward to spending the next couple of weeks with this group of lovely people and sharing ministry and mission with them for a short while.

So. My pre-BAP placement has begun and so too has the next stage of my discernment journey. I hope to keep you up to date with how things progress, and I’ll perhaps blog about what is involved with BAP too as things progress there.

 

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About Pam Smith

I am a Christian and currently exploring vocation. I am a writer, I conduct a brass band, I am an avid reader and when I'm not doing any of those things I crochet with a fierce passion. I am mum to two fantastic young adults, celebrating my Silver wedding anniversary in 2016 with my husband. I recently gained my Bachelor of Arts with honours.
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7 Responses to On Placement – Part One

  1. viviellevirgule says:

    Good luck to you and prayers too! I was just thinking of you this morning and wondering how you were doing. Looking forward to hearing more about this discernment process! Hope you are having a lovely summer!

    Hugs,
    Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Smith says:

      Thank you so much Mary. It means a lot to me to know that you are thinking of me and praying for me. I was rereading your card on Sunday and thought to myself “I must get in touch with Mary to tell her how things are going”! Pam x

      Like

    • Pam Smith says:

      Hi Mary – I got your postcard today!! Thank you so much for sending it to me. Niagara has a special place in my heart too as it was where I played a concert with my music centre band in 1986 on my very first trip overseas. I’ll never forget that trip, and the boat trip to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls remains to this day one of my all time favourite experiences. I’m really glad to have heard from you, God bless you, Pam x

      Like

  2. Kevin Partington says:

    Hi Pam
    The C of E discernment process seems interminably long at times- but hang in there – God knows what he is doing!
    Be assured of my prayers in these coming weeks and months.
    Please let me know the exact dates of your BAP.
    Every Blessing
    Kevin Partington

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Smith says:

      Hi Kevin, many thanks for your continued prayers and thoughts through this process. It seems to have gone on for such a long time, but to be honest I don’t feel it has been unduly drawn out and I feel that I am moving at God’s pace!

      My BAP is due 18th to 29th September in Ely.

      Best wishes, Pam

      Like

  3. Andy says:

    I know Jackie at St.Michael’s, she’s lovely. Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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