This is the next stage in exploring my vocation and the calling has made on my life.
OLM stands for “Ordained Local Minister”, and it means that once I’ve completed my academic training and gone through another series of interviews, I will be looking at being ordained as a Church of England Deacon in 2020. I will be attached to my home church – St Paul’s in Blackley – and I will carry on with my “other” life outside of the church in order to support myself. Currently, that involves earning what I can by writing and by crafting.
To get to this stage, I first of all had to pass a series of interviews with the diocese, each one getting more and more in depth and personal, and ultimately going before a Bishop’s Advisory Panel (BAP for short) to be tested over three days as to my suitability to train. The Bishop of Manchester then looked at all my application, interview and reference papers and offered me the chance to train to be a minister.
I began that training in September 2018 by studying with All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry for the academic side of things, alongside being on a placement to be trained in the practical side of things. I spent the first term at my home church, and as of January 2019 I will be spending a season and a festival at another church where I will experience a different style of churchmanship and leadership. Next year I will be doing a “sector” placement, which means I will be placed in a non-church environment for a period of time to experience how ministry works in the community somewhere. It could be a hospital, a prison, a school or university, or even maybe with a Funeral Directors or something, but it will be challenging and a wonderful experience I’m sure.
After my training is completed at this stage and the Bishop interviews me for my suitability, if all goes well, I will be ordained in July 2020 as a Deacon. That is the first stages of priesthood in the Church of England and I will be ordained as a Priest in 2021 if my Deacon year goes well. After that…who knows what will happen? I am in God’s hands and in his service.