We are really excited to be joined by Sally Taylor who has recently started a pioneer curacy with St Michael’s Hamworthy. She will be part of the PMC team and PMC will offer support and mentoring for the pioneer element of her curacy. Sally trained for ordination at Sarum College in Salisbury and will be ordained on 27th September. By way of introduction Sally explains about her calling to be a pioneer minister and to Poole.
Packing up a home always unearths somewhat forgotten memories. As I was sorting through my bedside cabinet in preparation for our family to move down to Poole, in a few days, I discovered my old journals from when I had just started at Sarum theological college 3 years ago. I happened upon the pages where I had written my sadness and frustration after one early residential weekend that really affected me and changed my view of my calling. I spent the weekend exploring the realities of rural parish ministry. It seemed to me that in order for me to be a parish priest I must have a love for church buildings, get used to expecting small changes and what I felt was that my passion for mission couldn’t be the focus. In this one day I was ready to give up my ordination training. It hit something in me that angered and frustrated me to a point where I felt I just can’t do this – I felt that if this is what ministry is about then I can’t be a parish priest. Prior to this weekend I had thought I could fit in the mould of a traditional parish priest and had thought that was the direction that I was meant to be heading. I had however always not quite fitted into it and had always thought outside the church building as well as been a starter of new things but I questioned whether I was a true pioneer as I wasn’t cool or trendy enough or ‘out there’ enough to be one.
The churn that this weekend caused pushed me to try and change direction as the pioneer call in me strengthened and strengthened. I couldn’t change my course to pioneer training but I chatted to wonderful people at CMS and paid for myself to do a module there which showed me what I was made of and the pioneer call within. I continually pushed the boundaries at college and questioned the system and I suppose through more negative than positive learning I have come out the other side knowing a lot more of who I am and something of what I am called to do. The treasure God placed inside of me is starting to be discovered and as with many of us it doesn’t fit neatly or easily into a church made box. I am therefore so delighted and still somewhat in shock about the role I will be taking up in a few days. I feel a bit like Sarah – Abrahams aged wife – in her disbelief and laughter at God enabling her to become a mother so late in life (Genesis 18) as I didn’t go down the pioneer route of training, I didn’t have the reassurance and encouragement of my call but yet God made a way. My testimony is that God moves mountains when He wants you somewhere and He knows where your heart will sing.
So, we are delighted to come to Poole to be a part of PMC and the Hamworthy Benefice. It has been a crazy journey but we are excited to see what God is doing and seek to join in. I am excited to be able to encourage and enable other pioneers in their giftings, to see what new ways of church are possible and what can be built up and grown anew within St Michael’s and St Gabriel’s. And I will be praying as I have throughout this challenged training time a few lines from a beloved Rend Collective song (Broken Bread) “Your Will done your way” and “God let your dreams come true through us”.