I’ll never be in a UPA

… and other choice quotations (or should that be quotes?) from Candidates’ Conference.

I’ve been away all week at my second Candidates’ Conference held at Gartmore. I am absolutely shattered but the week was really excellent. A bit of a mixed bag for the workshops – some really challenging ones and some that were a bit on the excruciating side. This conference’s theme was context and commitment, with a look at Urban Priority Area parishes, world mission, city centre challenges and much more. There was an excellent workshop on conflict resolution which could easily have been a full day.

Worship was good, lots of reflective moments and with an amazing communion service on Maundy Thursday evening. Communion is normally on the last day of the conference, but since it was Holy Week, it was more appropriate to have it on the Thursday. It was also decided to have it immediately after dinner, as we all sat at the tables at the end of the meal. When we had finished eating, we started reading various accounts of the Last Supper. A number of people had their feet washed. Then the bread was broken and, with the wine, was served and shared. After sharing the meal we then left the dining room and went into the garden where there was another reading and a song was sung. Celebrating communion in that context was enormously powerful.

The best bit, of course is the fellowship. It’s great to be able to spend time with other candidates and talk ’til silly hours of the morning about everything and anything, about God, life, hopes, family, friends, placements, supervisors, tough times, joyous times, trivia, the esoteric, the downright wierd and wonderful. And when you talk about everthing and anything it can get heated, funny, challenging, exciting and eminently quotable.

So, the top three eminently memorable phrases:

In third place, Howard, with “My, he’s a big one.” Howard’s 6’7″, preaches in a kilt, singes his hair on pulpit lights and was reporting the often-heard ‘whisper’ from the congregation when he first appears.

In second place, Daniel, with “It’s all about sex. Tom Torrance really does it for me.” The context was a discussion about the rubbish that women in ministry have to deal with. Daniel is Romanian, with excellent English, but an interesting turn of phrase at times. Tom Torrance is a theologian with good stuff to say about the power struggles in ministry.

But top of the pile, with a wonderfully quotable phrase, was Jane with, “Deep, deep down, men are really shallow.” Same conversation as Daniel and probably the best summary of the discussion I could offer.

And the UPA one? That was me. I feel no sense of call to a UPA and was fairly adamant about it in a conversation. I was made to sign a dated declaration of that so that it could be cast up to me when God decides that’s where He’s going to put me.

19 responses to “I’ll never be in a UPA”

  1. You always have to be careful what you say about prospective parishes…. God has a huge sense of humour, as you know. I laughed at the possibility of a country parish, but that was what Leslie effectively was with great tracts of farm land forming much of the land content, and as for UPA’s…. guess what KHR is in ??? (and you seemed to enjoy your time with us !!!)

  2. Nelu,
    Thanks for stopping by. Unless you were around at 2 o’clock in the morning of the Wednesday night (does that make sense) you’d have missed it. You’d also have missed Jane trying to tip me off a stool for being cheeky (and failing miserably – there’s a lot of me and Jane, after all is small and blonde – and now I’m going to die when she next sees me)

    Yes indeed. I’ve been on the receiving end of that sense of humour too often. I have to confess though, I didn’t even realise KHR was a UPA. For God’s best laugh I suspect I’ll end up somewhere with no internet access though.

  3. Jane may indeed be ‘small and blonde’ but she did give it a jolly good go… 🙂
    And what was that about sausages, kilts, Scotsmen and mountaintops??
    Mind, I’m not sure we will be able to cure Daniel’s fixation for T. Torrance.

    By the by… you have inspired and challenged me re. keeping a blog.  I may yet live to regret this….

  4. Hello Nikki,
    Thanks for dropping in.
    I really can’t remember the context for Howard’s comment, but I’m pretty sure what he said was “And there was not another sausage to be seen.” Which, given remote mountains, kilts and true Scotsmen, conjures up all manner of unwelcome images. Daniel, I suspect, is beyond redemption.
    Happy blogging.

  5. You might even prompt me to (re)start blogging…

    By the way, my mind may have (mostly) been on the game of chess I was probably losing, but “made to sign…”? There was no indication of arms being forced up backs or the like :0)

  6. A persuasive guy, that Alan.  I even won the chess game where he periodically said “Go Dave Go”!  And suggested a few helpful moves!

    Did your gathering of Candidates’ blogs come to fruition?/Did Nikki speak to you about the idea for a blog network/portal?

  7. Ah, Dave, no I did not… but we should all have a natter about trying to do sommat, eh?  John, it’s with regard to the revisioned MTN….

  8. oh and by the by, if you have any HTML solution to fixing my header on my blog, I’d be grateful… would kinda like the pic on the right and the words on the left, not both together…!!

  9. Re: blog/portal.
    Wordpress do a very nice multi-user environment, sort of like Blogger or wordpress.org, but on a separately hosted domain. Has the advantage that there are no adverts and it can be tailored to suit our requirements. I’d be more than happy to host it. Daniel also runs his own hosting account. Between us, I’m sure we can do something. Or suggest a domain name and I can have it set up very quickly. There are other portal options as well, but for a blog-oriented one, WordPress is one of the best.

    I’ll email you re header.

  10. Oh, be careful what you wish for…

    When I was at the enquirers’ conference last year, one of the speakers was chaplain to a mental hospital. He told us prior to that he’d been a parish minister and had pretty much sworn he’d never be a hospital chaplain. I think saying “no” to something can get God sending you whether you like it or not.

  11. Hi Mrs G.
    I’m all too aware of that. I once said that there was no way I’d ever want to be a minister. The rest, as they say, is history (and also resting on a huge presumption at the moment).
    What is it they say? If you want to give God a laugh, tell Him your plans.

  12. Hi all!
    I have to register my protest, for the sake of posterity. (Was it posterity or prosperity?… hm…) First of all, how in the world did I manage second place??? For a competing person, this is a heavy blow. I’m very disappointed.
    Second, that is NOT what I said. Not one after the other anyway. I wish I did, but I didn’t! Besides, it was 1 o’clock am, so nobody can argue with me! I know I’m right. What I did say is that in my exploration of the ‘women’s ordination’ theme, it was Tom Torrance who did it for me, with his connection between the ordination of women and the salvation of women (if women cannot represent Christ, then they can’t be saved either). There was no sex involved in the immediate semantic context. Is that clear??? Sheesh!
    Now: I don’t remember saying “It’s all about sex!”, but when I told my wife about this, she said it sounds like me. Oh, my! I’m doomed for sure; beyond redemption! But I still have to protest; after all, I am a protestant – that’s what I DO!

  13. Hi Daniel,
    I sincerely apologise for misreporting what you said. As you say, it was rather late so my memory may be a little befuddled. But then again, who am I to argue with your wife 😉
    Hope you are well and thanks for stopping by.

  14. Sounds like there were some quite extraordinary discussions taking place in the wee small hours….. Not sure that I want to know about the Torrance/women’s ordination/salvation of women one !!! Sounds too heavy and probably a tad too controversial !!! (and I suppose the wee small hours are just the time to air such thoughts !)

  15. I just started blogging a couple of months ago and I am glad I found yours!  Very cool that you did Communion after dinner and then looked at some of the records about that event.  I recently posted a couple of articles, one on the “sop” and the other on “washing feet.”
    All my best!

  16. Hi John

    Just catching up with your blog… this post brought back many happy memories of candidates conferences 🙂 The remembered quotes from late night chats really made me laugh. My best height one was a lady who when I visited initally mistook me for her solicitor (!) and when I said I was the new minister… she looked me up and down and said “I thought you’d be shorter” (I am 5′ 9″). Then by way of explanation she added “you look shorter in your picture” (which is just a head and shoulders shot)…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *