Sunday, 20 November 2011

Farewell to the Bishop.

I went to a farewell service in the Cathedral last night. The man who was retiring was the bishop who ordained me. I was unprepared for the sadness and for the sudden rush of memories.
Just one story from many....
After I moved to Cornwall I joined the church choir and soon became the church secretary. I became aware of a call to ministry long pushed to one side returning with great vigour and persistence. I went to talk to the parish priest who said that as I was then just 60 I was now too old for almost anything.  The inner voice kept returning I had to do something. I went back to the vicar and told him I was going to try to be a reader. He produced a leaflet telling me the cut off date was 60. But he thought it might be worth a try.
I applied and all went very quiet until one day I got an invitation to go to a readers selection conference.
Off I went and was interviewed by various people until it was time to go into the Bishop.
He smiled at me, asked a few questions and then rifled through a lot of paper.
Suddenly he flung the whole lot of them into the air.
I was stunned.....
He smiled at me again.
"I have no doubt you would make an excellent reader" he said "But I have no intention of letting you"
Dashed I said something about realising that I was too old...
"Oh no" he said with a broad grin from ear to ear...".I want you for the clergy....Have you thought about becoming a priest?"
I looked at him very carefully in case he was joking.
"Well yes I have" I said " But I'm too old for that too now."
He laughed again, a warm, caring laugh.
I will ordain you as a deacon in one year and as a priest the following year if you agree."
I agreed of course.....the call that came in my youth was finally going to be answered.
He was as good as his word.
The bishop made me into the very happy fulfilled woman I am today. I shall always be grateful to him.


  1. What a lovely story, and what a lovely man he must be.
    He obviously recognised quality when he saw it.

  2. Great story Jean, and there's even hope for me at 62, still struggling with the discernment process.

    Not sure that my Bishop is as sympathetic or empathetic as yours though.

    Still, DDO again on Tuesday, 22nd Meeting? at Bishops request. God willing some clarity of where we go from here.

    But your story just encourages me to believe that the Church can be hopeful and helpful. Thank God.

  3. Good luck with that Ernie. It seems to vary a lot from place to place. I was in the right place at the right time!