On 25 – 26 January I travelled with Fr Thomas, and my Parish Priest to a ‘Growing Vocations Conference’ organised by Ministry Division, held at King’s Park Conference Centre. The opportunity came through Dr Peta Dunstan talking with Ministry Division, and I was asked to speak about the Religious Life on a discussion panel ably chaired by Bishop Libby Lane. Also joining in the discussion were representatives of Readers and the Church Missionary Society (CMS).
As you will know, many people in the church know little about the Religious Life and other vocations – like CMS – and it was very good to be able to meet with DDOs and other vocations advisers to talk with them about discerning a vocation. You can see what I said on the Twitter using the hashtag #CofECalling*.
Vocation first and foremost is the call of Christ to a relationship of love with God and neighbour; this is lived in prayer, and prayer is the primary vocation of the Church. The heart will always want to respond to that call with good works: ‘Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.’ (1John 3:18) – but we have to careful that we don’t end up doing good deeds simply because it is good to do good. Through our relationships we are the ones being done to: we are the ones called to be more compassionate, generous, caring, charitable – it is God at work in us!
The Christian life is the way of life that brings joy and hope to our hurting world. Much more of the conference was given over to thinking about vocation to the priesthood – those who are set apart amongst the whole of the baptised, who are equipped with the spiritual toolbox of the sacraments. Remember to encourage vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life, CMS, Readers……. But all of us are called to that relationship of prayer, so be encouraged, and don’t give up!