Countdown to Vocations Sunday - 5
Vocation, Vocation, Vocation
Having a vocation might be a misleading way of putting it! Often we have lots of vocations, things that we are called to be and do, and these change over time. Stuart's call to ordained ministry came through a change of perspective and hearing God's call through the world he knew best. For 11 years he had been a music teacher in a high school and loved his job. Working with teenagers is definitely interesting and no two days are ever the same. In fact, no two hours are ever the same so it seemed to Stuart like the dream job. As well as teaching during the day he was playing trumpet in a jazz band and playing the part of John Lennon in a Beatles tribute band. Music 24/7.
As a cradle Christian, not only had he been to church all his life but he'd been to the same church all his life ... he even sat in the same seat, and tended to just be a spectator in terms of worship.
It wasn't until, at the age of 26, when he decided to join the choir that he started to feel closer to God. Being in the choir meant he felt closer to the worship; he got deeper into the music and the words of the hymns. Through doing what he knew best, music, he felt like he wanted and needed more and more of worship, an unquenchable faith. It was then that through this deepening of his faith he felt called to ordained ministry. After a chance meeting with an ordinand he learned about the training for ordination and what it would involve. Talking it over with his family affirmed his calling. The ribbing from the guys in the band when he told them kept him grounded!
Stuart will be ordained on July 1st this year at Lichfield Cathedral before starting his curacy at St Giles in Shrewsbury. He still plays in the Beatles tribute band and will continue to play with them after ordination. It'll just mean an occasional swapping of a dog collar for a wig!
To celebrate God’s call to us all the Vocations and Training team are running a mini music and arts festival on 23rd July at Shallowford House, Stone. The Encourage Festival has got an amazing line-up of bands and speakers, including Rev Kate Bottley (Gogglebox, Songs of Praise etc) and Stuart’s band, The Born-Again Beatles. The festival will be a brilliant way of enjoying the things other people are passionate about and reflecting on our own gifts and calling. There is loads more information at www.encouragefestival.co.uk and tickets are only £10 per person (age 13 and under free) on the early bird price so do book and be part of this really special event.
Lord our God, you have made me to know you and to love you.
You have made me to serve you, and through serving you to know abundant life.
Lead me to the place in your kingdom that is set aside for me;
Where through service I may become the person you know me to be.
Give me the strength to work for the things I am passionate about,
Give me the courage to follow the path on which you call me,
And give me the joy which comes from being fully alive in Christ our Lord.