Photo of Bishop Woodford House (where I had my BAP) by Liz Burke http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2495079
Today is the anniversary of my journey through the valley of the shadow of death (or Bishops Advisory Panel as the Church of England calls it). For those who are unfamiliar with the ways of the Church of England, the Bishops Advisory Panel (or BAP as it is affectionately known) is the three day interrogation (I mean selection conference) that you are sent on before you can be put forward for training for ordination.
I can’t really believe that it is only a year since I entered Bishop Woodford House in Ely, feeling a special blend of terror mixed with more terror. It seems so long ago, especially when I think about all the things that have happened since then:
- We said goodbye to all of our friends in Wolverton
- I left the MS Society and my friends there
- We moved to Milton
- We’ve settled into All Saints
- Millie started big school
- I started really, really big school (and completed all of the academic work for the first year)
- Esther has re-started her Usborne business in a new area
- Lena has become a Ninja
- Wales effectively Knocked England out of the Rugby World Cup
I could go on……
As I look back now, the thing that really strikes me is how faithful God has been throughout the whole process. Not just in giving us what we need but so much more besides.
In a very small way I think our house typifies this. About the time of my BAP our dish washer broke. With all of the expense and uncertainty surrounding moving we couldn’t really afford to buy a new one. But when we came to look for a house (very last minute due where my BAP fell in the year) God provided not only a house in the area that we wanted, but one that came with a dish washer. We don’t need a dish washer, but life with children is so much easier with one, and God provided.
In the scheme of things dish washers aren’t really that important, but God has been so generous with so much more besides.
- He’s given us a fantastic local church with amazing people that has been key in helping us to settle into our new Cambridge life. What’s more it’s worked out that I can have All Saints as my attachment church so that we can all worship together.
- He surrounded me in college with great friends and colleagues to share this journey with (big shout out to the Milton Massif and Precincts Prayer Square in particular, but there are so many wonderful people here)
- He provided Millie with a place in a great school where she has settled and begun to make friends
- He’s given Esther the Spice (Ridley Spouses) group which has been a great source of support and encouragement to her.
This is not to say that the whole year has been easy, it’s had its challenges (for example trying to explain to a credit check agency that I don’t need a salary to make rent because the Church of England is paying), but God has been steadfast in his goodness to us.
I’ve learnt a lot this year (and not just about the Cappadocian fathers), but a key thing that I want to take from this first year is that God is Good. You can trust him and he will come through. The churches that I will lead in the future will be in good hands (not mine, but God’s)