Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Candidacy Story

Over at RGBP Songbird is asking about process stories that might be helpful to hear. I have no idea if mine if helpful to anyone besides me but here goes (an abridged version)

My story begins when I was in my undergrad and our minister asked if I had ever considered ministry. We all laughed. But the idea was planted and by 2.5 years later I found myself sitting in the University chaplain's office asking about the process. In hindsight, while the decision may have been right, the time was all wrong. But that is getting ahead of myself.

A year after my undergrad I started seminary, sort of coasting through as was my habit in school (I seemed to do as little work/reading as possible since grade school). And then in third year went on internship. THat was a much larger struggle than I had expected, although in retrospect the issues were already there. Internship brought into clear focus that the person who was most in the way of my proceeding towards ordination was me. I simply was not ready to be there yet. For the whole 10 months I struggled with trying to live into ministry, while remaining blind to how incredibly ineffective I was. Needless to say that internship was ruled "complete but unsuccessful" -- a fancy way of saying failed without using the F word.

When I say that I was the person blocking my path I mean it, now. Then I could hardly see it. But I had issues of self-confidence and self-liking to get through. What saved me was that I had a wonderful Education and Students Committee. THey refused to let me go on till they knew I was ready. AT times I resented them for it, thought they were just making me jump through hoops. But one of them put it very well "we have a responsibility to protect the church but also to protect you. If we let you go ahead to ordination, and you crashed in the first year (which would have happened) we are sure the church would survive. We aren't sure you would". That is a great definition of their role in my opinion. SO with their coaxing and coaching I took time. I worked in social services and was able to juggle a CPE into full-time work. I was told, not suggested told, to see a counselor and did. And in the end it worked out. I moved out of my own way. The next internship I passed easily. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now it is important to note that no process removes all of our blocks. I still struggle mightily with Pastoral Care, with the concept that I have anything worth offering to people or that they want me to come by. But the process worked. No matter how angry or resentlful I got at those people who I thought were blocking my path the process worked. They merely blocked the coming train wreck--sometimes the barricade is there for a reason.


  1. Gord, this is very helpful. I think it's not uncommon that we find a way to bring our own "stop" sign to the process. God knows when we're ready.

  2. Anonymous11/1/06 02:09

    Gord, thank you for this.

    I love it that - at least with hindsight - that you saw that the committee cared about you - and wanted what was best for you and the church. They expressed it so well even though I'm sure it was hard at the time.

    Oh I wish we'd had this discussion earlier :) It would have helped me even more!!

    prayers appreciated. I'm in that place where I am really being tested. God's given nibbles of encoruagement these past few days though other wise it's been a bit dark and forboding.