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Happy Birthday?

Yesterday I was 9; today I am 3, tomorrow, all things being equal, I'll be born again (or from above?)!

Or am I?  And will I?  And does it matter anyway?

(And what on earth am I on about!)

On 5th December 1997 I had one of those 'Damascus Road' type moments when I was surprised by God with a very clear, unambiguous call to ordained ministry.  Given the path that followed, it was as well it was that obvious, otherwise I might have given up many times over along the way.  My call, from 2 Timothy 4: 1 - 5 (God's very off beat humour), is something I return to often and always find the bits I didn't spot last time!

On 6th December 2003 I was ordained - along with a mega sense of relief that finally some church somewhere recognised the call.  The passages chosen - Matthew 25: 31 - 46 and Matthew 28: 16 - 20 - continue to inspire and challenge me.

On 7th December 2006 I will face my final interview with the EMBA Ministerial Development Group (Min Rec by any other name).  I am somewhat nervous about this, though people tell me I shouldn't be.  At the end of nine years of learning, growing, struggling, failing, trying, feeling inadequate, feeling excited, refusing to be discouraged, picking myself up from rejection and enjoying the moments when it all makes sense, if only for a moment, this interview marks the official 'end' of testing out the call to be a 'fully accredited Baptist minister.'  If it is confirmed then I get 'handshaked' next May!

So should I be celebrating?  Does it matter?  I'm not honestly sure!  This week's Baptist Times has a helpful and thought provoking article on using the title 'Rev' or 'Revd' - and while I agree with it pretty much, I kind of like having something to show for all the slog!  I don't believe that there was an ontological or sacramental change in any of these stages/events but at the same time they must have some kind of significance that I remember them.

One friend I shared this with said I sounded like Solomon Grundy - but I've yet to find out what happens on the 8th - 11th of December, or in what year!

So Happy Birthday (9th, 3rd or 0th) or not, this week feels fairly significant - and in the meantime a real Happy Birthday to Sam L and Sophia W who both reach 4 years old this week (now that is scary!) 



  • All the best for your interview tomorrow and your extremely well-deserved future 'transignification' to completely accredited ministry. Good old Schillebeeckx!

    I agree a church is not a building. I'm wondering how to stop that becoming an issue in pastures new - maybe a disintegrating flat roof might be part of the answer, but receptiveness to some good theology is probably - and hopefully - the better antidote!

  • hope the interview went well. I had a very good interview with the East Midlands Min Rec. Brian Brookes was my Spiritual Director for a while (though he might not be on the committee any more).

  • Nothing, believe me, nothing is as scary as the fact that you remember Sophia's birthday - but I will pass on the greetings. Who knows, maybe she and Sam are destined for each other - what do you reckon Kez?

  • Hi Sean, thanks, that was the most entertaining part of my day! Could it be that Sophia's birth was just before my 40th? I think it could!

    By the way, the nice people at EMBA said 'yes' and my friend from D+6 and I celebrated in Caffe Nero with tea and cakes.

    Sam & Sophia? Hmm, maybe I'll start saving for a hat!!!!

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