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My Blog - My First Calling

It’s been a quiet month but I thought I would write about what was possibly the first time I ever felt a significant calling to the ministry.

In late 1997 I became an Altar Server. Paul Varah asked me one Sunday after Church as I shook his hand outside whether I’d be interested in serving. I’d left Sunday School the year previously and had been confirmed in St Mark’s in the November of 1996. I was attending Church every week sitting at the back with Sandra and Dorothy, although back then as I was only twelve I knew them as Mrs Sullivan and Mrs Harrison.

Now of course I replied in the affirmative to Paul and said I’d love to be an Altar Server. One evening in September or October we went down to St David’s while the play rehearsals were going on in the Parish Centre. It was the year there was the wild west play. I’m sure Denise and Les remember it well. “You say….” “HOW!”

Anyway I digress. We arrived at St David’s and Paul showed me the ropes of being a server in one evening – it was a lot to take in as you had to remember how many bread went in to the ciborium, which purifiers went with specific chalices and which order to light and extinguish the candles but fortunately for the first few months he paired me with one of the more experienced servers. It’s pretty amazing to think that I’m now the most experienced server at St David’s with nearly eighteen years experience. I’ve been serving longer than I wasn’t!

1998 comes and I’m in Year 8 at high school. In our Religious Education class our teacher Mrs Dingle decides we’re going to do a wedding service. One of the class members is the groom, another is the bride, there’s bridesmaids and a best man. And someone had to be the Vicar. I was asked whether I would do it as I was an Altar Server and a regular attendee at St David’s. “Of course I will” I excitedly said. Part of my role was to actually prepare the “service”. I had to do the service sheets, pick the hymns and then play the Vicar. Paul told me I could borrow my Robes for the occasion.

Before the “service” took place Mrs Dingle took a photo of me standing outside the room in my Servers Robe and Mission Praise in hand. I still have the photo somewhere but I can’t find it for love nor money but if I ever come across it I’ll publish it with a future article.

As the “service” took place I felt an overwhelmed sense of calling that this was what I was put on this earth to do. Obviously being twelve I was WAY too young to start my ministerial training then and I had to wait until God deemed me ready. Now as I work towards the selection process I remember my formative years in the Church fondly.

I know I said I wasn’t going to write anything for this month but this was a story I wanted to share so I hope it was a good read. I was really excited to hear that Lesley Joy too has had a calling to Lay Reading ministry and I hope you will keep us both in your prayers as we answer God’s calling.

Steven - 20/06/2015
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