Looking Ahead to 2016
Where does time go? It was only 18 months ago that we left the Holme Valley to embark on a new adventure in Oxford as I started my training for ordination. Yet, in that time, not only has the scenery changed—trading fine views for fine architecture, but our family scenery has also changed. Our toddling son Jed is now a rambunctious 3 year old and our youngest Talitha (just a bump when we left) is now toddling around after him!
Our time in Oxford has been a whirlwind. Not only are our kids keeping us on our toes, but life in college at Wycliffe Hall has also been pretty hectic. This term especially looks busy, as I’ll be writing up my final dissertation. But, although tiring at times, it is such a privilege to be here and for the church to have invested so much in my theological education—that is a big motivating factor for me when the going gets tough.
Theological college really is quite a strange environment to be in. Throwing a bunch of training vicars and other theological students together in a confined space makes for some remarkably deep conversations in the dining hall at lunch! But having the time and space to think through some really big and important issues in our faith is amazing. I feel like two questions are being raised for every one answered, but I guess that’s right. There’s a name for a God that we can shrink small enough to grasp and easily make sense of—an idol.
I feel like my time at Wycliffe has also really helped show me more about what it means to be part of a Christian community. It has taught me more of the need to see the image of Christ in my fellow brothers and sisters even (and perhaps especially) in our differences. What’s more, I believe I’ve learned more about myself—who I am, what makes me tick, and what I value most in my life with God. This time in training has, I believe, helped me work out where I belong.
So what’s in store for 2016? Well, my time of Wycliffe finishes mid-June and before that I’ve got a lot of work to do! Then we’re excited to be moving back to Yorkshire, and just down the road, in fact! I’ve been invited to be a curate to Rev Mike Wilkins at Holy Trinity, Huddersfield and I’m due to be ordained on 2nd July (God-willing). We’re confident it’ll be a great fit and we’re excited for what the future holds there. Though, I’m sure I’m also quite naïve about what an intense time a curacy will be!
So, for now, we’re in that very Christian ‘now and not yet’. Just as we know that the world is headed for complete restoration in Christ and the coming of His kingdom, so we pray, yearn and strain to see it here and now. So too, do we know where we’re headed, but the task before us now is the task before us all as Christians—simply to be faithful to the call of Christ where we are.