Being a Locally Ordained Minister
July 15, 2016
My world changed two weeks ago. I became a Locally Ordained Minister. I started wearing a dog-collar and it has made a big difference to my life. On the very first day that I ventured forth wearing it, somebody treated me very well because of it; and somebody else treated me rather badly because of it. I had a routine visit to the doctor’s surgery in the morning and the nurse there, who was also Church in Wales, wanted to know all about it and made a fuss of me. But at lunch time on that same day, in a restaurant, a grumpy voice said: “Oh dear, this place is full of ****** Christians!” I am sure he meant me because I was the only dog collar around.
Actually, I rejoiced at both encounters “Yeah!” You see, I wanted people to know who and what I am – and it seemed people did.
But there are dangers having people know who and what you are. The whole point about being a Locally Ordained Minister is that the Bishop won’t give you a dog collar unless the people around you ask him to. Your neighbours need to think well of you. But, of course, they can always change their minds. A couple of days ago I was, as the Locally Ordained Minister, a judge of the floats and fancy dress at the Pennard Carnival. Now, when you give the prize at the Carnival, if there are ten floats to be judged one out of ten contestants will think you are very wise indeed but the other nine will think your judgement is rubbish. Who can blame them? So it isn’t all plain sailing – this dog-collar business.
I am sure my fellow clergy will not be a bit surprised at any of what I have been finding out; but it is all new to me. My life has changed.
The other big thing that has changed for me is that I have become an ‘Assistant Curate’ – which is to say I have joined an ‘apprenticeship scheme’. There is a lot to learn. In just a few days I have been with the Vicar seeing about a funeral and I have been with him too at a wedding ceremony. I took a role in it. I have been with him also preparing for another wedding – in a year’s time – finding out about all the forms to fill in. There is, indeed, a lot to learn. My life, you see, has really changed.