|“I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service” 1 Tim 1.12
I’m absolutely delighted to let you know that on Tuesday next week Patricia will begin training for ordination.
This fantastic news came as quite a shock. You may remember that after a BAP assessment in July Patricia was not recommended for training – but to everyone’s surprise Bishop Rob called her on Wednesday to let her know that he is convinced that God is calling her to ordained ministry and he will send her for training regardless of the BAP recommendation.
It is important to say that this wasn’t a random decision by the Bishop. It is rare for bishops to disregard the advice of a BAP, but it does happen occasionally – but never without a great deal of prayerful consideration and consultation. Bishop Rob interviewed Patricia at length and spoke to several people who know her well before making this decision. The BAP process is impressive but occasionally they don’t perceive a vocation where people who know the candidate better do – that is what happened in this case.
So Patricia starts her training. Unlike Fr Andy Coates and several of the pastoral assistants who have been at our church, Patricia won’t be going away for residential training but will remain with us at Hornsey Parish Church while training at St Mellitus College in West London. This is great news because it means that Patricia will continue and extend her ministry in the east of the parish, providing pastoral care to vulnerable people and bringing God’s Word to people who don’t know, or have forgotten, that they are loved by God.
It won’t be easy. Ordination training is hard – difficult academically, punishing emotionally and exhausting. For Patricia, a mum and foster carer, there will be particular challenges. And so I ask that you all keep her in your prayers.
The quote at the top of this newsletter is from one of our readings this Sunday, in which we hear the epistle writer giving thanks to God after being appointed to God’s service. We too are grateful to God, for judging Patricia to be faithful and calling her to God’s service.