Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Big Reveal

Yesterday I received some much anticipated news. Unfortunately the arrival of this news from the postman coincided with the moment that the sewage drain at the front of our house exploded (I'll leave that particular picture to your own imagination!) So when I opened the envelope telling me that my life was about to change in a big way I had barely a moment to let it register before a crisis call to my landlord (and getting out the way, fast!). Let’s hope that wasn’t a sign!!

For those of you who have been reading this blog and following my journey out of full time work to spend more time writing and working in church, this announcement may seem a long time coming. Believe me, it feels like it has been a long time coming for me! In many ways it feels that it has been seven years in the making since I graduated from Bristol a very different person than the one who started there. If someone had sat me down then and told me what I would be about to embark on I would have laughed. In fact when this whole process started I did laugh. I thought it was ridiculous. But others didn’t and I grew to understand that what I’ve been looking for all these years, a vocation, something to give myself to that means something to me, was perhaps staring me in the face after all. That what I had found was actually what I had been looking for the whole time.

So here goes…..as of September this year I will be starting college to become a Vicar in the Church of England. Yup. You heard me right! The interview process has lasted eighteen months but the preparation for it has been a lifetime. I’ve met more people in this process than I can count on both hands all of whom have been kind, supportive and seen right to the heart of matters. They helped me realise the potential I have and what I really want before I could even name it myself.

Some people think that the church is a narrow minded institution, at its worst perhaps it can be, but my experience has been one of acceptance, support and encouragement. I have come in with a different background, having come to faith later in life, and I have been part of all different kinds of churches since. Like all of us really, I don’t come to this with a clean record or no mistakes made. I’m not a Church of England bod born and bred, but I bloomin' love this church (with all its eccentricities!), and they have understood that this is perhaps one of the greatest things I have to offer.  They haven’t been put off by the pink handbags and love of Glee, God bless them! They have given me the confidence to be more fully myself than ever before. I’m overwhelmed and thoroughly excited that talking about my greatest passion, this great God who I love so very much, is going to be my day job. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
So where does that leave me now? From now until September I’ll be preparing to start a BA in Theology at Oxford University. It’s going to be intense so I’m going to get a head start and hit the books this summer. I have to learn Greek and Hebrew as well as getting back into essay writing ten years after I last started University. I never thought I’d be staring a degree course in the eyes again, much less one at Oxford! My college will be Ripon College in Cuddesdon (very near Oxford) where we will move to be closer to the college community and all the great things that offers. I’ll be there for three years in total and then who knows? Off to be a Curate (assistant Vicar) somewhere for three or four years and then they might even let me lose as Vicar of my own church!

I can’t say enough how kind people have been to me - friends, family, new friends on Twitter and people I’ve met in Oxford on the journey – I have had an amazing group of cheerleaders. Prepare yourselves for some serious payback this summer!! I intend to spend a large proportion of it in pub gardens, sitting in the sunshine and spoiling you all rotten! This blog, and my writing, will continue - my goodness this journey is going to provide some fabulous blog fodder!

So thank you for sticking with me and for the supportive community that surrounds this blog. I really do appreciate each and every one of you  *gushing ends here*!

15 comments:

  1. Hi. That's great news, can't wait to hear how you get on along your journey. Best wishes and prayers for the future.

    I finished my diocese ordination registration form last week and have been dithering since then, so may be your news is the motivation I need and I'll be sending it in tonight.

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    1. That's great! Defo go for it I'd say. The process is long and gives you plenty of time to fully reflect on the right path. Good luck!

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  2. Best. Blog. Post. EVER!

    Apparently the tweet I sent in relation to this news yesterday has been deemed the best tweet ever too. Tee hee hee.

    So proud of you for trusting God when you thought it seemed crazy, and going for it! And sincerely hope that the exploding sewage pipe issue is being resolved (ew!)

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    1. Thanks La! Really appreciate all your support. And, yes, the sewage pipe issue is solved, thank goodness!!

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  3. WOW! That is exciting news! I nearly spat my tea out. Well done getting accepted on the course. Can't wait to hear all about how it goes.
    xx

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    1. Ha ha, sorry for spoiling your cuppa! Will defo be keeping everyone updated!

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  4. As I tweeted yesterday, so pleased for you, I know first hand what the process is like and I imgine it's such a joy to get to where you are (hopefully I wont be far behind!!)
    hope all goes really well and that you love college
    red xxx

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    1. I'm sure you won't be far behind, Red! Thanks for the kind wishes, exciting times! xx

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  5. Nicola, I am so very pleased for you! It's 26 years this month since I heard that I had been accepted to train for ordination and I can still remember so vividly how that felt. My path was different from yours because of my age, 3 years part-time and no Greek or Hebrew, but the calling and the work were the same and I've never regretted any of it for an instant. Wishing you every blessing and enjoy your summer. ;-)

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    1. Thanks Perpetua. I'm really excited about the training, getting stuck into placements and study and then the work itself. Such an exciting time! I've had so many inspiring role models who have said exactly what you have, that they loved the journey and never looked back. I hope I feel the same in 26 years time!! :) x

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    2. Awesome!

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  6. am so proud and happy for you! Felt very emotional and motivated when I read this.

    Congratulations again. xxx

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    1. Aww thanks matey! Hopefully catch up over Easter if you're not in Zim by then? Adventures all over the place with us lot! ;) xx

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  7. Hi Nicola, I've got a little behind on keeping up with your blog, so it's been wonderful and fascinating to catch up with your most recent posts and to read that you are about to start vicar training! How amazing! I love the fact that you are going to be living among nuns - what incredible people to learn from. As for the essay writing, when I started my teacher training having not written an essay for 5 years, I actually found that because I was writing about things that I deeply cared about and was fascinated by, the writing came easily. I am sure the same will be the case for you, if not more so, with all the writing skills you have developed since uni. I am very much looking forward to reading your posts about this journey.
    I read the blog of another C of E vicar who is incredibly inspiring, and hasn't gone the 'conventional' route into becoming a vicar - you might find it interesting too:
    http://cookiesdays.blogspot.co.uk/

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  8. Hi Hannah, thanks so much for the comment. Glad you've popped back and enjoyed reading about all the latest antics! Your experience of essay writing is really encouraging. I know the reading so far has been much easier because I genuinely want to know the contents of it (and know I have 40 years of sermons to research!!)

    Will defo check out that blog. Thanks again!

    N x

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