Last weekend was a significant one for two ordained women I know in England, both of whom are now former Baptists! It's been interesting to ponder their journeys, such as I know of them, to compare and contrast, and to think a bit about my own ongoing journey.
J was ordained forty years ago as a Baptist minister. She had resigned as a Baptist minister and become a URC minister long before I knew her. She is a highly skilled and extensively published liturgist and hymn-writer, among her published liturgies being the one she wrote for leaving Baptist ministry. Forty years a minister - ordained when I was still at school and still working out what this Christianity thing meant for me. J taught me pastoral theology and some stuff around liturgy and worship when I was at 'vicar school.' Forty years is a tremendous achievement and I salute her for her faith, her determination, and her willingness to make a stand over her understanding around human sexuality.
A was a also a long term Baptist minister. I'm not quite sure how long she served, but certainly right up to her retirement. Last weekend she was ordained within the Anglican communion and is now serving as a curate in Derbyshire. She is a another woman for whom I have huge respect and admiration. She is one of the of few people who has preached a sermon that has stuck in my mind. A resolute and determined woman with a passion for gender justice and addressing the topic of violence against women. She was my personal tutor in my final year at college, and no-one could have had a wiser or more supportive companion. I wish her well in this new stage in her journey.
The two events happening simultaneously and separately for these two women I respect has given me pause for thought. I can't imagine resigning from the list of accredited Baptist ministers. Neither can I imagine becoming an Anglican (not even a Piskie version thereof). But I know the danger of saying 'never'! For me, for now, ministry is definitely Baptist, and definitely in the church I am privileged to serve in Glasgow.
Should I work until my anticipated retirement age, I'll clock up around 28 years, which isn't a bad innings... but more important is to keep plodding on, taking a day at a time and trusting in the promises of our faithful God.