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*!