It’s a great opportunity to be joining the Diocese of Ely as DDOV at this exciting time. First, as this diverse diocese is growing; second, as a large cohort of candidates go to BAP; third, as the newLocal Contextual Ordained Ministry (LCOM) scheme is launched; and fourth, at a time of change in the Ministry and Mission team as this role has been reshaped.
I’ve been hearing about ministry all across the Diocese, in particular as we prepare for new curates being ordained at Petertide to serve their titles in our parishes. I’ve been learning of the Changing Market Towns projects and enjoying picking up from many varied colleagues something of the breadth of discipleship that is growing in the Diocese.
There have also been many candidates going to their Bishops’ Advisory Panels – the selection conference process where the National Church spends time with those seeking to discern whether they may have a call to serve the Church of England as ordained ministers. Candidates can be recommended for training and then we work out what kind of training will best suit their – and the Church’s – needs. The Revd Canon Anna Matthews, the previous DDO, has left a very exciting community of those seeking ordination, each of whom I’m glad to start to get to know.
The Ministry and Mission team has also been leading in the last few months on setting up a Local Contextual Ministry scheme – an initiative to help people who are discerning a call to ordination, but for whom a national BAP isn’t the right step. This means that people who are over 60, and who are simply settled in the Ely Diocese and embedded in their own parish and deanery contexts, who have been ministering in a diverse range of ways, now have a pathway to start exploring a vocation to ordination to serve their communities in new ways. We’ve had so much interest that we’re already needing to triple new resources to hold and progress those who have come to us in this stage of their vocational journey – so if you have come forward but we aren’t taking things as fast as you might want, please be patient – it’s all part of the journey…
Previously, the DDO role was simply a half-time post, shared with the incumbency of St. Bene’t’s Church in Cambridge. Anna has really grown both roles, and she is now able to concentrate solely on her thriving city centre parish. Meanwhile, the DDO role has also been expanded by the addition of the “V” for “Vocations” – a reminder that we all have vocations as Christians, and each of us have callings to serve Christ according to our own gifts, experiences, and contexts. So this means I’ll also be getting to grips, in the coming months, with the range of lay ministries, and how to help people to discern who God is calling them to become.
I couldn’t do all this by myself, of course – so I’m delighted to have the support of Gina Mead, Secretary to the DDOV, who may be your first port of call if you’re looking for more information. The Revd Canon Linda Church is the leader of the whole Ministry and Mission Team, and she shares with us wisdom and vision grown out of many years of parish ministerial experience.
And as for me? I have moved to the Diocese of Ely after nine and a half years as Chaplain of Jesus College, Oxford, where I relished pastoral work with students, and saw many growing into their vocations, lay and ordained, across the country after they left university. I also taught Old Testament/Hebrew Bible for the Theology Faculty in the University of Oxford, and I have a sixth day ministry of writing for both the Church and the Academy grown out of my doctoral research in the Psalms (I really enjoyed writing a Lent book for SPCK on the Psalms, “Songs of the Spirit”, and I have other writing and speaking commitments around the corner). God being my helper, I will remain faithful to that part of my own vocation as well.
If you have any questions, queries, or think that God might be calling you or someone you know to a new ministry in the Ely Diocese or the wider Church of England, do email Megan at email@example.com, or Gina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Megan Daffern.