I have noticed a change coming over St John’s College community as we approach the end of the year – and more importantly as many of us approach ordination. I have in past years been aware of the shift that ripples through this place. We are a community, we worship early in the morning, break fast together, study together, have Eucharist together, lunch together, we live next to each other, we socialise, our children are bought into the world and grow up here, they play together, and we all love and struggle and suffer together. In many respects I have never been so intimately entwined in a community as I am here. As such nothing that affects one in the community, can not at some level be felt by another. This year with so many heading toward ordination I wonder if the feeling is compounded?
Or is perhaps it is just my own fall into introversion as I approach my deaconing. In some respects it is odd to me to be leaving here to be ordained in another place, another Island away from my community. I will travel to Christchurch, God willing be ordained in the Church of St Michael and All Angels (as the Cathedral is no more since the earthquakes). I will work in the community, in the east of Christchurch for five weeks with quake survivors and then return here, different and yet the same.
As I approach ordination the questions of worthiness ripple and round the community and through me. We have become a quieter people at present. I am happy that some of the people from here will travel with my husband and I to my ordination, my dean, the priest in charge of my formation, students. People who have been an intricate part of my formation and journey. Two worlds for a short while will touch each other (I wonder what they will think of each other?)
In the meantime I notice myself caught between the difficulties of acquiring the documentation needed to be ordained when ones church has been destroyed and all records are in the red zone, and my own internal shift. I notice it most when I take bible study for the Pacific Island and African Women at College. There we enter Tambore time when we engage with scripture and the intimacies of human interaction across nations. In this sacred space I confess my increased need to nurture my community, to set up sewing sessions so no one to be deaconed or priested - however tight for cash (the perpetual student problem) without a stole.
I confess too my sudden desire to look at wedding dresses. Although I buy them at auction to cut up for stoles, I am aware that there is a subtext here, a mirroring of the bride of Christ, a sense that in my ordination I will be wedded to the Church in a new way.
Such are the noticings of this a woman on the edge of ordination, on an evening where there is a soft rain and the smell of blossom heavy in the air.