College of the Resurrection
To all at Pagham Church
Greetings from West Yorkshire!
I can’t believe we are already in the season of Advent; the time has flown by!
It has been a fantastic ten weeks so far at Mirfield. There is an amazing team of tutors here and my fellow ordinands are a wonderful group, travelling from dioceses across the UK (and Europe!), with a wide range of ages, backgrounds and experiences.
Life at the college has a very distinctive rhythm. The days generally begin with Mattins (morning prayer) at 7.30am, followed by Mass and breakfast (with a full English on feast days!). Then lectures begin. There’s a real mixture of subjects each term. This semester we have had an introduction to the New Testament, analysed Jesus in the Gospels, traced the history of liturgy from the first century, explored how to prepare a sermon, and have started learning New Testament Greek. There is a real emphasis on the communal life, so things like meals are an important time for us to get together as a community. But as we get along together so well, we’ve also been exploring the wider world together. A month ago, myself and a couple of friends visited the fantastic Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, and last week a few of us watched the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Leeds Town Hall. Another exciting trip was to Manchester to the Rylands library to see P52, a papyrus fragment of John’s Gospel dating from around 200AD – amazing! Today (Sunday 2nd December) a group of us are travelling to York Minster for the beautiful candlelit Advent Procession. And then on Wednesday, eight of us are taking part in the Advent Sleepout Challenge in the local parish church, as part of the Together Network, raising funds for those affected by homelessness. If you would like to sponsor me, please do visit the fundraising page online at https://sleepoutchallenge2018.everydayhero.com/uk/gemma – every little helps and is very much appreciated! The college also provides opportunities to serve each other and bring our own gifts to the community. As tutor groups we are given different responsibilities within college life, such as hospitality or helping with the church services, and as individuals we are given more specific duties, such as my own nomination as flower officer this year (I am currently planning the displays for the Christmas dinner!). We have a further chance to gain experience in a parish placement, in which we serve and preach and generally help with Sunday activities.
So, as you can tell, it has been a very full, exciting, challenging and inspirational few weeks. As we countdown to the end of term, we look forward to a time of reflection and preparation and spending time with our family and friends. I will be returning to Pagham for Christmas, and then journey back to Mirfield in the middle of January.
I look forward to seeing you all very soon!
I hope all is well with you all. You have, of course, been in my prayers.
With much love and best wishes