Ellen Loudon

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I am all revd up!

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So, it is all done. I am a reverend, living in vicarage. I got ordained on Sunday having spent 3 glorious days on ordination retreat (ordination retreat was blooming marvelous, met some fantastic people and really had a great start to my new life). Getting ordained was pretty good as well.

This picture is of the people who were on the ordination retreat – 19 people got ordained this week (15 in the cathedral on Sunday and the other 4 in their churches over the week). The picture was taken at Crosby beach – you might be able to make out one of the Crosby iron men wearing a cassock in the background (we know how to have a laugh in the church of England you know…dressing up the public art in clergy garb!). The retreat took place very near by Crosby beach (not that I left the house much) and this picture was taken for the Church Times. I wonder if they’ll use it?

The service itself was extremely moving and I found it affirming and empowering, and a bit awe inspiring. I am not sure that living up to that fanfare of a start will be very easy. Hey ho. I also found it very tiring and my bones have been aching ever since (probably the kneeling and special slow holy walking that was done!). Unfortunately I have to go to the mid-week healing service now so can’t really tell you much more about the ordination or what’s happened since. Well, not just now anyway!

I also have to tell you about my new blog. From now on I will be blogging on here – it is called diakonia and will track my year as a Church of England Deacon. I haven’t put anything on there yet but I will announce the first posting as soon as it is up. see ya.

B-T-W the man with the yellow spade (bottom right) is David Parry the Diocesan Director of Ordinands! It’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it…

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July 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Liverpool, ordination

getting ready for retreat

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We have managed to get the house sorted for the visitors expected for ordination weekend. The family are travelling from far and wide to be here – no pressure then! The beds are all made up and I have planned menus for most of the days I am away (cake baking begins in earnest tomorrow). The rehearsal is on Wednesday and the retreat starts on thurs evening. In preparation for the weekend I have been sleeping as much as possible, catching up with friends, seeing the new stuff that has been built in Liverpool since I was last here (e.g. the Liverpool One shopping centre, the urban design centre, the echo arena) and reading a Surprised by Hope by Tom Wright. I a afraid I am not being all that holy. I’m not being not holy but I thought I might find myself being more holy this week but there are still shelves to put up, trips to the dump to do etc. Finding heaven in these ordinary things has been a challenge but God has been there in it all! I realised this when I was at Christ Church yesterday (my sending church and the place where all this ‘being a vicar’ stuff began). I looked up at the stained glass window from the pew I always sit in and remembered the day that I felt that calling for the first time (I was breast feeding Eva at the time and about to hand her on to someone else to hold her because I had to play the guitar), I had jut been declared bankrupt, had not long been married, was living in a hippie commune and struggling with my faith in a way that I had never experienced before. In the past my faith was a theory, at that time I was clinging on to it for grim death and was living it so tightly I could hardly hold on.

But, during the process of bankruptcy I had for the first time accepted that I was forgiven and that God loved me more than I would ever know or feel – it was an assurance of love that was so deep that I didn’t even need to feel it. And as I sat there that day it felt like I could give myself back to God – give up hanging on to my life and it occurred to me that I could be a priest, that I could serve God in a way that was public and transparent. That I could also serve the church (the fragile church that I have had so much beef with over the years!)…and that was it. I made a commitment to God then to pursue that calling and haven’t ever felt any differently about it since. That is where it started! Now I am about to make that commitment in front of everyone else and start my new job. So, this week I am trying to be ordinary, getting on with the stuff of life, but just remembering the journey from there to here .

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June 23, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Posted in ordination

leaving – getting ready to go – pretending to be a vicar

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These are the first of many leaving photos. The first one is of me and George Kovoor (the Trinity College principal). The other one is of some of us who are leaving wearing our new clergy-wear. Now, I know that technically we shouldn’t be wearing our collars and that it is illegal to impersonate a vicar but this is just a dress rehearsal so please don’t take this as a final vision of how we will actually look when we are church of England curates. I haven’t decided on hair colour (please state your preference – though red is out of the question because that wouldn’t go down well in Everton) and this isn’t the stole (the red scarf like thingy) I will be wearing on the day – that will be white (but it is still being hand-made by a member of St Peter’s Lawrence Weston church).

I am still feeling a bit sick from the fish quiche incident, I’ve been to college today to panic about the exam (revision is not going well) and have to sort out Eva’s stuff for Brownie Camp which starts tonight. So, best get on.

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May 23, 2008 at 11:39 am

Baptists

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You may well know that Trinity college is ‘in a relationship’ with the Baptist College (they call it a Federation – which is another way of saying they love each other very much but there is no kissing). Well, the Baptists are great! I say this because I have just read a book about the way they do church, what they think is important and general stuff about the way they developed their theology of church and I found myself being very sympathetic to their decisions. Don’t worry I am not turning Baptist but I can see why my family were congregationalists…whilst not the same as Baptists their self-governance and commitment to mission is particularly compelling. I am an Anglican through and through (cut me in half and “CofE” is written round my inside) but I think I am a Baptist sympathizer.

On another subject altogether. It is 3 weeks till we move! A fact that slightly disturbed me today and I got stress tummy. I wonder if my study in the vicarage will look like this:

another fab cartoon (click on it and it gets bigger) by Dave Walker who now is writing the Church Times Blog. Genius at work.

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May 19, 2008 at 9:56 pm

back home from Virginia Water

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I decided not to stay for too long. My mum was very tired and I think she needed to be on her own having had Eva for 4 days. I am glad that I came back though. It means I can spend the last day of the holiday with Eva on my own and do a few more bits and bobs here. I am so tired now. You wouldn’t think driving to Virginia Water, dodging the posh people in the massive cars and eating would be so tiring.

I went to see an old friend this morning – Enid. She is in her late 80’s and had just had a new knee fitted. Enid was the first person to mention ordination to me when I was 17years old (all those years ago!). She had a real vision for my ministry and has been a great influence on me and the formation of my faith. She is a straight talking, intelligent, visionary person (she needed vision to see me as a vicar when I was 17years old!). She sees the positive in difficult situations and has been so faithful in her ministry as a reader at Christ Church, Virginia Water. She and her friend Ann work very hard for the church – making pastoral visits, taking funerals, leading services at the Methodist church (which is affiliated to the Anglican church). They are tireless witnesses to the gospel.

I love to spend time with Enid and listen to what she and Ann have been doing in the church and in their other roles. Enid used to be an inspector for Anglican training colleges and knows Trinity well. She has also sat on various boards of training colleges and has a sense of what training for ministry is like as well as what the job entails after training. It is a privilege to spend time with them and I take great encouragement from their interest in me, the family and my ministry. I felt very proud to tell them about my curacy and even though it seems unlikely that they will make my ordination, due to Enid’s poor health, I know I will be in their prayers.

If you get a moment and could spare a prayer for an old friend of mine with a poorly knee and problems with deer who eat her flowers then please do.

Written by ellenloudon

April 17, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Posted in family, friends, ordination

transition

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This week I am at college doing a module called “transition to Parochial Ministry’. Basically it is the module where we find out all about what it is like to be a curate, learn a few trade secrets and discuss clergy stuff. It is quite literally a transition module and it is quite strange being at college when there are only leavers there discussing our new jobs, new houses, new bosses, new tasks, etc etc. I feel like it is become more real by the day. Very soon I am going to be ordained and very soon I will be leaving Bristol and moving into a vicarage and starting a new life and this is the week where I make the first transition from this student life to that new life. The strange (or perhaps I am realising not so strange) thing is that as the days are passing I am getting less anxious and more ready to make this transition. I am staring to feel empowered and equipped. Ready? So, thanks for your prayers, support and stuff…keep it coming but don’t worry I am getting the hang of it!

I’ll keep you posted.

Written by ellenloudon

April 2, 2008 at 8:35 pm