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My Blog - A Weekend at St Michael's

Before I start I would like to thank everyone who have approached me to say you've enjoyed these articles so far. I certainly have enjoyed sharing my journey with you all. With the end of the first part of my training, the "Here I am Send Me" course it will also mark an end of this article for the time being, as there will be little to report over the summer months!

The end of the pre selection course saw me attend the study day at St Michael's College in Cardiff on May 9th. It was a truly memorable experience. As in January I stayed over the night before and I used the late afternoon and evening to explore the college. It was built in the late 1800s and stood until 1940 when on a clear night the college was very badly damaged by the Luftwaffe. The accommodation block where I was staying was completely destroyed by bombs. Luckily the Ordinands were not in residence at the time and the bulk of the college was saved. After rebuilding the college was reopened in its current form in the mid-fifties.

The room we held our study day was in the old part of the building and it was the old College Library. What surprised me was how small it actually is. I remember the college libraries at both Deeside College and Chester University and they were a good ten times larger. Right opposite the door of the Old Library was a large painting of the first principle of the college. What was eerily spooky is that he was the spitting image of Rev Bryn Parry Jones! Talking of Bryn, he told me to try and find his year photo but unfortunately it's been taken down now for a more recent group photograph.

The picture with this article is of the ornamental cross that sits on the window shelf between the main college block and the library and accommodation block. I thought it was a beautiful object, a lot fancier than my own cross that sits next to my stereo in my room.

The study day itself was a rather quiet affair in comparison to the ten week course I have just finished. It consisted of mainly looking back at the modules and discussing with the other course participants which parts we found hardest and also which parts we found "easiest". It was interesting to see we'd all flagged up Exploring the Old Testament as the area we found most challenging. I'd never really delved deep into the Old Testament before, concentrating on the early stories such as Adam & Eve, Abraham, Noah, Joseph (and his amazing techicolour dreamcoat!) and Moses.

It was great meeting up with the other members of the group. Two people on the course sadly couldn't make the study day meaning there was just four of us at the study day. What particularly interested me was hearing about their placements with their own Vicars and how they differed in areas and matched my own experiences in other areas with my own placement I had with Robbie.

One of the highlights was making a collage up using many craft materials about where we are now with ourselves, God and others. It was great fun getting creative and very messy! The day ended with a wonderful rousing worship which included one of my favourite hymns, which isn't in Mission Praise which is "Here I am Lord, Is It I Lord?". Somehow that seems very apt for me at this point in life as I am answering God's call.

I then had the opportunity to chat to some of the others and with our course leader Paula about where we're going next. The next phase for me is "Exploring Faith" and I will be getting in touch with the Director of Ministry for St Asaph to get me signed up for this September. The selection process is twofold with the first the Diocesan Selection where they discern whether you've had the calling from God, what type of calling you've had and more importantly whether you are ready to take up God's calling and if they're satisfied you are sent to the Provincial Selection Panel which is a lot more formal and is held at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden. That is where I began my journey in discernment and it will be very apt if that is where it all culminates.

I would like to thank everyone who has held me in their prayers and all the wonderful support from all at St David's and St Mark's. And of course I wouldn't have got to where I am now without the support of Canon Paul, Canon Robbie and Rev Bryn. And there is one man, who has been my rock throughout the process and supplied me with many good books who sadly passed away in January. The Reverend James Thompson, known as the Animal Padre. I know he up there now sending his support. Thank you James.

Steven - 20/05/2015
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