An anniversary

28 11 2009

Ten years ago today, I was ordained a priest.

Currently there is not much in my day-to-day life that looks especially “priestly”.  I may not have worn my alb and stole at all so far this year.  I don’t think I’ve presided at the Eucharist.  I may have worn a “clerical shirt”/dog collar once or twice.

It isn’t what I would have imagined being a priest would be like.  For the first few years of being a priest I would have worn vestments and presided at the Eucharist most every week.  Even when I began at the university four and a half years ago, I thought that there would be weekly Eucharist and other places where my “priestly ministry” would be expressed more formally.  (And for a time there was).

My bishop probably gives the same talk to all ordinands.  A priest, he tells you, is someone who has “time for you”.  He talks about the importance of having time, of not being busy; of being on the side of the poor and marginalised, the broken-hearted, the widow and orphan (for); and of seeing people in their particularity, of seeing them as beloved of God (you).  At least that’s how I remember the talk.

It’s easy to be sucked into busy-ness.  To feel the need to be productive.  Anyone who’s seen me in the last couple of weeks wouldn’t have got the sense that I was a person with “time for you”.  Nor time for anything but crossing off lists and getting things done.  I’ve all but forgotten my vocation.

For me, being a priest is about resisting the urge to be “useful” and “productive”.  It is attempting to live as if I know that humans are of value by virtue of their being rather than their doing.  And offering that recognition to everyone I come into contact with.  Beloved of God.  Human being.




5 responses

28 11 2009

well done you! and the church for recognising how you best can be you… so very glad to have met you this year.


28 11 2009

Thanks for such an accurate description of what it is to be priest/minister…
Do hope that benedict and rowan have access to your blog….


29 11 2009
Paul Fromont

Congratulations Jemma. I warm to the Bishops counsel…


29 11 2009

Congrats! I too have an anniversary this week. A good time to stop and think, review, sigh and give thanks. I’m back. Let’s catch up soon. Meet ya halfway?


3 12 2009

Thank you so much, it will be 10 years since my ordination next year and I resonate with so much that you said. Blessings.


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