Back to theological college – sort of, 20 April 2021

Every term at Ripon College Cuddesdon, where I spent three years training for ordained ministry, there are occasional “Themed Studies Weeks” – a week of being immersed in a particular context. One which helped me as I prepared to serve in rural parishes after ordination was the “Rural Studies Week”. It was a chance to consider some of the unique aspects of ministering in a rural context, which was quite new to many of us.

One of the facilitators of that week was Dr Martin Hodson and, since then, we have remained in contact with our paths crossing every few years. Martin is a great environmentalist and has been quite influential in my consideration of how we are stewards of the environment – and so indirectly helped persuade me to buy an electric car a couple of years ago.

Last year, just before Guernsey went into Lockdown, Martin came to speak in Guernsey for A Rocha UK and offered to preach here at Vale Church. So it was a great delight to have a message from him a few weeks ago asking whether I might be available to be on the clergy panel for the Rural Studies Week at Cuddesdon!

And so, on Monday lunchtime, I joined three clergy ministering in rural contexts across England to be grilled by a group of ordinands. Throughout my ministry I’ve always been committed to helping people grow in their own ministries, so to be involved in this week was quite special. Mind you, ministering in the so called “industrial north” of Guernsey with only a single parish meant I initially felt like a cuckoo in the nest. But, as the session went on, it seemed that I had something to offer both from this unusual context and from my previous ministry posts.

The difficulty of travel, and the necessity to put so much training online, is frustrating – but in this case it allowed me to be involved in something which otherwise would have been quite difficult. And for that I am thankful.

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