“A new generation of vicars…”

One of the more random moments of this week took place yesterday morning, at my friend’s flat in Hemel, barely an hour into a day off with some of my favourite friends. My phone rang, and having already seen an email that had suggested this call was imminent, I went off into the next room to take it.

As suspected, the withheld number turned out to be a journalist from The Independent, who wanted to interview me about being a ‘young’ trainee vicar. Recent statistics released by the Church of England had shown that the number of under-30’s entering ministry is at a 20 year high (23%),  [I count as ‘young’ because I was under 30 when I was selected – no rude comments please!] and The Independent had been keen to write an article featuring the experiences of a few of the people who made up this statistic. When preparing the press release on this news, the Church of England media team had collated a few case studies, so I was already prepped for such an eventuality.

The journalist and I had a pleasant conversation, but all the while I could hear raucous noise from the next room where my friends were getting stuck into some seriously good brunch. Occassionally, I heard snatches of conversation about me –
“It’s Wednesday, this is normally a working day for her, maybe something’s come up…”
“You don’t think it’s that interview with The Independent she mentioned? I thought she was joking! No, I’m sure it’s not…” *More raucous laughter*

Miraculously, I got through the call without too much distraction and rejoined the throng keen to make up for lost time (and lost pastries). Upon hearing what the call was about, the girls collapsed into even more laughter – of excitement, rather than derision – and asked questions about photos and the like.

So now it’s online (and will be in print tomorrow) and it seems to have turned out ok – I hope the other youthful ordinands and clergy feel it has too.

A new generation of vicars Personally, I’m very glad that the chosen photo is of the curate from Call the Midwife. An interesting choice, as it also harks back to the last era in which those in their 20’s were regularly selected for ordination. 

However, I do have a few clarifications. (Always the way, when talking to journalists, especially on the phone while there’s noise in the background!):

1. Not ‘all’ my lecturers are on Twitter. The vast majority are, and there is theological banter (looking at you Lincoln Harvey, in particular!), but there are also Twitter refuseniks. [It’s my own fault, I probably forgot to say ‘most of…’]
2. I did not help to run a young women’s vocations day – I helped out at it. An important distinction that I think the true organisers of the day would appreciate. There is a huge difference between months of planning, and simply creating a few prayer stations; pouring tea; and talking to a lot of people!

Such are the joys of journalism, I suppose!

Also, anyone else baffled by the reference to ‘wing tips’ in the headline? My brief Google suggests that it’s a footwear reference, but it’s definitely not one I’ve come across in my forays into clerical wear catalogues…

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