One step at a time

I love our diocesan slogan ‘A Church for a Different World’. We are certainly facing that world now. I really believe that Ridley College is equipping me to minister in this different world. The world that we will see when coronavirus ends will be very much a new world. We’re in the seventh week of lockdown, and it has brought me to closer God, there have been nights where all I could do is put my worries and fears at the foot of the cross and leave it to him, like many of us at this time. It has also made me more aware of not to lose sight of what matters most. Friends, family, those who know us inside out but love us all the same, those people who we can’t see at the moment but one day will be able to.

It’s been well over a year since I last blogged with a Northern Call. At lot has happened since my last post. Last time I when I wrote I was still in my first year here at Ridley, a fresh ordinand. I am now nearing the end of year 2, curacy searching will begin in the summer and I will enter my final year at Ridley in September. When I last wrote, I quoted that old gospel hymn ‘One day at a time sweet Jesus that’s all I am asking of you’. How true is that at the moment? Literally, as a world and as a nation. We are living one step, one day, one week at a time.

I can’t lie, training is rewarding, but when I started, I didn’t realise that it would be so hard! I am not academically gifted, but I have a great team who support me academically. Living in community presents itself with its own challenges but it is also very rewarding, to be able to live learn and pray with people on a regular basis has been a lifeline. Unfortunately last year my Dad had a stroke, and this year had major heart surgery which came with serious complications. Each time, the support that my family and I received from the Ridley Community was a true blessing.

Here at Ridley training continues, but very much virtually. Unfortunately essays don’t stop (I wish they did). I hadn’t heard of ‘Zoom’ until coronavirus began, and overnight it has become a necessity and a lifeline to many, I say that advisedly. Lectures have become virtual, as well as morning prayer and any community gatherings. The Bishop of Liverpool came and spoke to Ordinands in Easter term of 2019; he mentioned that he was part of a Cell Group which was formed while he was training Four of us from last year formed a cell group and meet virtually most Saturdays to pray reflect and catch up. I would really recommend this sort of group for people to journey with.

I am Ridley’s Resident royalist. The Queen’s Easter Eve message was powerful. As she said we need Easter more than ever. ‘The discovery of the Risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave us new hope and a fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this’ I have just finished an essay on Paul’s interpretation of Grace, like many essays I write, and commentaries and books I read, I find a new hope and a fresh purpose and I hope that as I journey on the path to ordination, and as the world faces the challenges of Covid19, we continue to see new hope and that fresh purpose.

All I do is take it one step at a time… and in God I trust.

Ben, Ridley Hall

Hello, I am Ben and I have just finished my first term at Ridley Hall in Cambridge. Before that I was a Pastoral Assistant for a joint benefice in Moss Side and Whalley Range in South Manchester. Prior to that I worked in banking, finance and government on the Isle of Man. Both my parents are parish priests near Cambridge.

Last year was incredibly busy with my BAP (Bishop’s Advisory Panel), moving back down south, and with family matters. So having time over Christmas to look back and reflect on my first term has been good.

It has been quite challenging as well as enjoyable. Inevitably when you start something new, you will face it with anticipation and hesitation. Learning to live in community and going back to education, for me, have been the hardest to deal with. Being dyslexic and dyspraxic has meant that I had quite a rough ride with my compulsory education, but Ridley has been so supportive of my learning needs that it has eased my transition back into learning.

‘One step at a time sweet Jesus, that’s all I am asking of you’, that old Gospel song has helped me immensely in my first term, as well as the support of the staff and students which I have received. The Principal of Ridley reminded us that “we come to leave” and that is encouraging.

This is a beautiful gift which has been given to me, I open it each and every day when I am here and that is the gift of my vocation, my faith, Ridley and much more. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me as I continue to discern my vocation day by day.

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