Christianity, General/Journal

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.



Daybook Entry – 27th May 2015

021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY 27th May (Happy Birthday Alan x) 

Outside my window… It feels like Autumn! So cold I’ve had to put the heating on again.

I am thinking… about getting over the finishing line with my OU modules. I submitted my first piece of work earlier this week and I have got two left which need to be done before next Tuesday. I can see myself doing it, but when I come to actually do it (like, put hands to keyboard or pen in hand) I can’t seem to make any progress.

I am thankful… that I have had this chance to learn more about music and to push myself creatively and academically.

In the kitchen… I have a bundle of home-grown rhubarb from my Dad’s garden that needs making up into a crumble.

I am wearing… blue t-shirt, blue tracksuit bottoms and my favourite pair of socks.

I am creating… Celtic knots. In the midst of my end-of-module stress I needed to find something that would be completely different and would give my mind something else to think about, so I taught myself how to draw Celtic knotwork designs.



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I am going… to a small ceremony to scatter my Aunty Jackie’s ashes tomorrow.

I am praying… for my father in law who is very poorly in body and mind; my cousins for tomorrow; my daughter who has had the last exam of her law degree today and is now facing The Rest Of Her Life; that the Royal Navy medical staff pass her fit so she can begin training this year; my husband who needs some TLC at the minute.

I am wondering… if I’m going to pass my modules this summer. Ithink I will, but it’s not the same as knowing I will.

I am reading… “Holy Island” by L J Ross. I think it is the same book I was reading the last time I did a daybook entry, but I have not had much time for reading recently. Must get that rectified after next week!

I am hoping… the weather is good tomorrow. My son has marching practice with the band he is playing for on Whit Friday tomorrow morning. I don’t think they’ll be happy if it’s raining in the morning.

I am looking forward to… having some time to relax and not worry about hitting a deadline. The past couple of months have been a bit mad in that respect.

I am learning… connected to the Celtic knotwork above, I am learning not to feel guilty about time away from “duties” of studying and working for my degree.

Around the house… ummm things are definitely messy. Got lots of stuff still from my parents in law’s bungalow to sift through and either store or throw away, and even though the bathroom is clean (one of my favourite procrastination techniques) there is plenty that has been left for too long.

I am pondering… what module to do next year. Do I continue with creative writing and venture into the world of screenplays and TV work? Or do I pursue music, which though it will be interesting I feel will be pushing beyond what I need to know for my own enjoyment (and which has an exam at the end). Or do I stop now and allow room for OLM things to come through? Or, do I do creative writing until OLM comes through (if it ever will), or do I do both music AND writing so I will definitely get my degree this time next year but put myself through incredible stress to do it and risk shutting out OLM things? Or can I do all three? Or something else… Children’s Literature for example. Or Roman Myths and Legends. Decisions, decisions.

A favourite quote for today… Me: You know that Westboro Baptist Church? Kevin: Is that the one in Chadderton? (Doesn’t understand why I fall about laughing)

One of my favourite things… used to be reading in my nice comfy bed before I went to sleep. But we recently got a new mattress and I’ve gone from having Baby Bear’s bed to Daddy Bear’s bed. My spine certainly feels the difference but it has spoiled my late night read. Sigh…

A few plans for the rest of the week: still got a song to write and an analysis essay to write for my OU module (which I might work on while I’m in the car waiting for Ethan tomorrow morning), scattering ashes in the afternoon, healing service in the evening, Whit Friday on Friday (not going myself, but Ethan needs taxiing about), church on Sunday, finishing off my music and essay over the weekend.

A peek into my day…

The very long score I have to analyise and then write an essay on.




Me at work whilst watching the State Opening of Parliament. Probably not the best idea.