A revelatory blogpost

If I told you that in the last week I’d handed in my notice at work and on my flat, you’d think that something rather big must be occurring in my life – and you’d be right.

Now is the time to come clean with my dear blog readers about something I’ve been keeping rather quiet for quite a long time. The reason for the for all the change is that, from September, I’ll be training to become a vicar, a woman of the cloth, a dog-collar wearer, whatever it is you like to call the good people who lead churches.

I wonder what your reaction to this bit of news is? It’s almost been the funnest part of the journey, watching peoples’ reaction to it…

My boss was “shocked”.
My mother was “surprised, but in a good way”. [My Dad wasn’t in the least bit surprised.]
My sister asked “Methodist or Anglican?” [Anglican]
An old school friend was utterly speechless for quite some time; another immediately asked if she could come to my church [she’s an atheist].
Assorted church friends have whooped in delight in the gleeful way Christians tend to have about them.
Just this afternoon a former boss greeted me with “I hear you’re finally doing something with your life?”
One dear friend has been unceasing in their perseverance at ensuring I didn’t procrastinate (too much) at various points along the way.
Dibley - No!

My all-time favourite reaction though was Morv’s. Dear, dear Morv. I suppose I should’ve known better than to spill the beans in a crowded central London Wagamama’s [in a separate post I ought to chronicle the amazingly inappropriate conversations I’ve had in the communal canteen that is Wagas…]. The announcement was initially met with a shriek of “You’re going to be the Vicar of Dibley!!” and then followed with an equally loud cry of “you do realise you’re never going to have sex now, don’t you?” (this was a joke, but nonetheless not overly reassuring). What the other diners must have thought…

Incidentally, anyone who makes a Vicar of Dibley reference in my presence will not be appreciated. In fact, multiple references could result in physical harm – dog collar or no dog collar. Bless Richard Curtis and Dawn French, but in many ways they’ve done female clergy few favours.

The process has been long (nearly two years since I sent the original and very long form in) and arduous – hours and hours of questioning from a variety of people not to mention countless written questions and exercises, culminating in my BAP in April. Yes, that’s BAP – a Bishop’s Advisory Panel to be precise – I’m not sure that Ministry Division were fully aware of what they were doing when they came up with that acronym. Actually, knowing the church, they probably did and I’m grateful for it, as it resulted in a whole host of brilliant BAP jokes that lifted my spirits during a rather stressful time.

It all began when my student small group prayed for me and my dear co-leader (a stand up comic, if you please) got things started with “Lord, we pray for Liz’s baps…”. Post BAP, one of the students came up to me at church and began a conversation with “so, how’s your baps?” on a day when I was wearing a rather low-cut dress and I was suddenly very conscious that I was having a potentially inappropriate conversation with the object of many of the female students’ desire. A Twitter follower worked out what I was up to and suggested that when I finally let the cat out of the bag, it could be described as “getting my baps out”. Of course it’s not at all inappropriate to connect a vocational discernment process with breasts – no, not at all.

So what does this all mean? Well, from September it means that I’ll be an ordinand – the CofE’s glamorous term for a vicar-in-training – and I’ll be studying at vicar school. However, I’ll be at a slightly less conventional one that the usual residential college. Instead of a quad amongst dreaming spires, I’ll be in central London engaged in mixed-mode training – with lessons in theology and how to be a vicar in Kensington (the lessons are in Kensington, we will be taught how to be vicars in a variety of locations) and will also work in a central London church part-time. In August I’ll swap Bermondsey for Bloomsbury (well, practically Bloomsbury – it just alliterates better than King’s Cross/Holborn does) and will live in a parish that includes Rupert Everett and Gillian Anderson. Fabulous.

And as for the blogging? Oh, that’ll continue, no doubt about it. My usual working rules will apply – just as I don’t tend to blog about the content of my day job now, nor will I in the future. But I’m sure life at vicar school will provide plenty of blog fodder, as will the continuation of my random London life. As for what happens post-ordination, we’ll just have to wait and see…

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Revd-to-be!!! Great news! Pete

  2. Oh how very exciting and it seems to make perfect sense from where I’m standing. I look forward to hearing all about it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    made me look what is a vicar:) wikipedia confused me a bit..
    anyway, congrads for choosing your way. best of luck, Adi.

  4. Sounds exciting! Congratulations!

  5. Thanks everyone!

    @Adi – I guess it’s a cultural reference that would get lost in translation! Rabbi but Christian?

  6. Wow – well done for getting through (we had a friend at work go through it a few years ago & know they really put you through your paces).

    Exciting times ahead, I’m sure!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The object of many of the female students’ desire?
    Come now Liz.
    Still very proud of you for getting your BAPS out.
    Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
    Sophs xx

  8. I must admit I’ve known about this for a little while, through a certain mutual friend, and my immediate response was “well, that makes total sense”. So there you go, for what it’s worth.

  9. Thanks!

    Amusingly, I remember that certain mutual friend introducing me to Tim when I first met you both as “this is my friend Liz – she wants to become a Vicar” and me getting a little annoyed as it’s not the most helpful introduction…

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